Archive for May, 2011

Why a Union?

May 9, 2011

This is a link to an article about a teacher who worked for over 40 years and recounts the many things that her union did for her.  The list is common, the telling is not.  Most of the things she speaks of are “perks” that most teachers expect in their jobs, but perhaps are unaware that union members had to be strong and committed in the fight for these rights.  It’s a great article.


Layoff and “Bumping”

May 9, 2011

Despite current rumors, “bumping” is not a part of the layoff process in the KEA/KSD contract. No one will get to select your job and push you out of it. And, although the contract groups jobs together into “categories,” the same process applies to all teachers in all categories. No group or job-type has greater rights or protections than any other.

So, how does it work, then? The district compiles a district-wide seniority list in January of each year, using all experience of a type that would be used for salary schedule placement, regardless of the district in which the experience was gained. Then, the school board decides which positions (not people) are to be reduced from the program. Next, the district looks at seniority within each broad job category in which there will be reductions, and identifies the staff with the least district-wide seniority. The least senior staff in those categories who have multiple endorsements will then be compared in seniority to staff in those other categories, again on a district-wide basis, to see if they are to be retained over less senior staff. The end result should be that more senior staff should be retained in any category in which they are certificated. If this causes them to move to a different category, then the least senior staff person in that second category may be the one to be let go.

Transfers to even out staffing then follow. Staff who are retained may need to be moved to another building. This is also done by seniority, with the least senior person in the surplus category being moved first. Unlike the regular transfer process, this “Transfer Due to Reduction of Staff” does not exempt provisional status teachers from being moved. This process is scheduled to take place in early June. A list of openings and of “surplus” teachers will be distributed in advance, then those to be moved will be called, starting with the most senior, to select from among the vacant positions in other buildings. No one may select a position that is not already scheduled to be vacant.

Admittedly, this is just a summary of the contract language. To gain a more precise understanding of the process, one should read the contract (Article VII, Section 8; page 112 ff). It can be found at the Contract tab at No one can accurately predict the final outcome of this process, nor can the Association accurately address each of a myriad of hypothetical scenarios. The best advice we can give you is to read the contract.

Politics is Important; Your Participation is More Important.

May 8, 2011

KELA (Kent Educators for Legislative Action) is the KEA Committee that goes to Olympia, lobbies with our Legislators for our organization, organizes letter writing campaigns, doorbelling and phone banking events, works together with WEA to promote education policies that benefit teachers and students and generally does the political business of KEA.  Because everything that you do as a teacher is either directly controlled or seriously affected by politics and politicians, that makes the work they do EXTREMELY IMPORTANT.  Please support this effort by reading and acting on the following short message from KELA:

Are you upset? Get info. Take action. Go to                                                                                                                                                                                                 Then click the links to the following topics to read more or to email your legislators and Governor Gregoire now.

  • State takeover of your health benefits
  • The teacher termination bill
  • The teacher tax (3% salary cut)
  • Larger class sizes

Remember to start your message with a short personal statement or example of how you and students may be impacted.

The High Cost of Low Teacher Salaries

May 8, 2011

This is a link to an article from the New York Times Editorial page, briefly tackling the apparently forbidden and unspeakable topic of TEACHER PAY.   

  Op-Ed Contributor: A New Measure for Classroom Quality (May 1, 2011)

Getting ready for RIFs

May 8, 2011

With RIF (Reduction In Force) notices set to go out this week, it is critical that you know what to do, even if you do not feel you are in danger of being let go.  If you do receive one, note that there will be a meeting at the KEA office on May 17, at 4:00 to give you information on what this means and what your rights are.  This is a checklist from WEA and KEA:

Getting ready for RIFs: Six steps to take now

 With significant cuts coming in the state education budget, KEA and WEA want you to be prepared in case you receive a Reduction in Force (RIF) notice. Here are some important steps to take NOW, even if you have not received a RIFnotice:

  • Keep all notices and paperwork you receive from your employer, especially your RIF notification should you receive one. These explain your appeal rights and may be necessary for any potential challenge to a RIF.
  • Make an appointment to check your personnel file at the district office. Make sure the information in it is accurate and complete. For example, make sure that your contracted FTE, endorsements and other information are recorded properly. If you find mistakes, correct them as soon as possible. 
  • Make sure the district has current contact information for you, and keep it updated (mailing address, phone number, e-mail address, etc.). If you do not have a personal, non-district e-mail address, sign up for a free one and provide it to the district. Accurate contact information is important in case of a recall.
  • Get a complete copy of your personnel file. You may have to pay for the copy charges, but the investment will be worthwhile down the road.
  • Obtain letters of recommendation from your principal or other key people and have these recommendations ready in the event you need to look for employment elsewhere.
  • Make sure you know who your local association president and UniServ representatives are and how to get hold of them.                                                                                               (President: Lisa Brackin Johnson-, UniServ Rep: Sandra Goveia-