Archive for the ‘Contract’ Category

Charters Now?

January 21, 2012

Connie Compton, KEA President, has some thoughts on Charter schools:

Our legislators and their constituents need to focus their energy and address the real problem in education in our state. Putting an issue on the table that Washington voters have already rejected three times distracts needed energy from solving the real problem.

Washington State has been cutting the education budget year after year. Education Week recently ranked Washington 42nd in per pupil spending ($9,329/pupil in WA versus the national average of $11,665/student) and 44th in state expenditures as a percent of state taxable resources.

We have less and less to meet the needs of our students. When I started in education over 30 years ago we had supply rooms with pencils, crayons and construction paper. We had textbooks and a wide variety of materials. As a special ed. teacher, I had a budget to purchase the unique materials my students might need to grow and learn. With the drastic budget cuts in our state, supply rooms are empty, textbooks are often out of date and special ed. teachers no longer have funds for basic materials and that’s just a start. Teachers spend hundreds of dollars out of their own pockets to make up the difference to supply their students with paper and pencils, and sometimes even coats and shoes.

And please don’t blame teacher salaries – Washington has consistently dropped down the list ranking states for teacher salaries. Our teachers are lower paid than all other states on the West Coast in spite of a high cost of living, particularly in the Puget Sound region. Last year the state legislature further cut teacher salaries by 1.9%. A handful of districts, including Kent, are paying the 1.9% out of other funds – however, before that Kent was the lowest paid district out of 22 in the Puget Sound region.

Charter Schools will take time and money to implement. They take funds away from true public schools that meet the needs of each and every student who walks through the door. Coming up with the staff to process applications, oversee charters, and the other related needs will cost our districts and state money. We need to work together to figure out how to fund what we have and not start anything new that we don’t have the money for.

If and when we solve our budget issues at both the state and local level and truly meet our state constitution’s requirement to amply fund public education, then we can begin to look at the valid research and statistics and learn from the experiences of other states. We can consider the many instances in which charters have been mismanaged and done more harm than good. We can look at the data regarding innovative schools that already exist in our state. Then we can then decide if this is really the best direction to go to meet the needs of the students of our state.

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KEA Bargaining Update September 2, 2011

September 4, 2011

Bargaining Team
Goal:  To strengthen the KEA contract in
the areas of working conditions, as well as compensation and benefits with the
ultimate goal to improve teaching and learning for the students of the Kent
School District.

 

A quorum of the membership of our association ratified a new
contract at the general membership meeting on August 30th. Key
components of the agreement include:

  • 1.9%
    – A stipend will be paid that makes up the difference between the 10/11 pay and
    the 11/12 pay for each cell reflecting both base pay and TRI pay. This will be
    re-negotiated for 12/13.
  • Late
    Arrival Days
    – nine 2-hour late arrival days for the next 2 years. 4 days
    teacher-directed and 5 days district-directed. KEA members in each building will
    decide which days are teacher days.
  • Goal
    Setting Model
    – language facilitates all elementary schools effectively
    moving to the goal setting model.
  • Civility
    Clause
    – the workplace will be respectful and criticism will be made in
    private.
  • Audio
    & Visual Recordings – must be
    mutually agreed upon in writing by both parties.
  • Bereavement
    – 1 day for those not in immediate family / household (no longer required to
    use discretionary leave)
  • Discretionary
    Leave Roll
    Over – in order to
    reduce confusion, establishes a 3-week window ending June 10th to
    roll over one day.
  • Nurses
    & Psychologists
    – provides more autonomy over use of time to complete
    required work.
  • Meetings
    no meetings 5 school days before conferences.

In addition to the agreements above, KEA and the district
agreed to work together in collaborative committees to plan for future Learning
Collaboration Time and to define the role of department heads. KSD also agreed
to encourage a reduction in required meeting time.

Members in each building need to vote on the use of the late
arrival days for this year. Additionally all members are encouraged to track
required meetings, a practice imperative to improving KEA’s ability to make
significant headway around this issue.

Thank you to all KEA members for your support during this
bargain. Have a great school year!

KEA Bargaining Team

Connie Compton, KEA President

Cindy Prescott, 4th/5th
grade, Crestwood / KEA Vice President

Michael Kerstetter, Music,
Daniel / KEA Secretary Treasurer

Lisa Brackin-Johnson,
Language Arts, Mattson

Brian Thornton, Social
Studies, Meridian Middle

Emma Goliff, 1st
grade, Panther Lake

Ron Nauer, PE, Meeker

Rose Racicot, Occupational
Therapy / Assistive Technology

Sandra Goveia, KEA Uniserv
Representative

Tentative Agreement

August 25, 2011

Bargaining team goal: To strengthen the KEA contract in the areas of working conditions, compensation, and benefits to improve teaching, and learning for the students of the Kent School District.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             
Your KEA Bargaining Team is pleased to announce a tentative agreement has been reached. We look forward to sharing the details with you at the general membership meeting.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           
Please be advised that the calendar is part of the tentative agreement and provides that KEA members will attend the district workshop days on Aug. 29 and 30. The “floating” classroom prep day (7.5 hours including your 30 minute lunch) can be worked any time between Aug. 15 and Aug. 31.

On a personal note, I hope all KEA members will take a minute to thank your representatives on the bargaining team. They have put in many long, volunteer hours, including a 14-hour day yesterday. They were committed, thoughtful and intentional as they worked for the good of the entire membership.                                                                                                                          Connie

General Membership Meeting                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Aug. 30, 2011, 5-7 p.m., Kentwood High School
This is your opportunity to ask questions and vote on the tentative agreement                       

KEA Bargaining Team                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Connie Compton, KEA President
Cindy Prescott, 4th/5th grade, Crestwood / KEA Vice President
Michael Kerstetter, Music, Daniel / KEA Secretary Treasurer
Lisa Brackin-Johnson, Language Arts, Mattson
Brian Thornton, Social Studies, Meridian Middle
Emma Goliff, 1st grade, Panther Lake                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Ron Nauer, Science, Meeker                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Rose Racicot, Occupational Therapy/Assistive Technology
Sandra Goveia, KEA Uniserv Representative

Because you asked…

August 24, 2011

Several people have wondered why you can’t have the details of the Tentative Agreement before the General Membership meeting on Tuesday, so I asked Connie Compton if she could craft an official response to that question.  Here it is:

It is best practice in Bargaining a contract to present the details to membership in a general meeting that allows all members the opportunity to hear the same information at the same time. This allows for members to participate in a question and answer period as well as debate any issues.  Then, in a democratic process, the contract can be put to a vote.

While ideally, we would like to present the details to members immediately, we are a very large group and we must plan logistics and reserve space in advance.  At the time we scheduled the August 30th date we had no way of predicting when we might reach a tentative agreement.  Therefore, it was prudent to plan for as much time as possible to complete the bargain.

We appreciate your patience and look forward to meeting with all members next week.

Connie Compton
President
Kent Education Association

TENTATIVE AGREEMENT!!!

August 24, 2011

TENTATIVE AGREEMENT HAS BEEN REACHED!  COME TO THE SCHOOL BOARD MEETING TONIGHT (8/24) TO HEAR THE ANNOUNCEMENT AND BE READY TO COME TO THE GENERAL MEMBERSHIP MEETING ON AUG. 30 (5:00 PM AT KW) FOR RATIFICATION VOTE, DETAILS  AND DISCUSSION !

Bargaining Update

July 19, 2011

This just in from yesterday’s bargaining session:

 KEA Bargaining Update      July 19, 2011

Bargaining Team Goal:  To strengthen the KEA contract in the areas of working conditions and compensation and benefits in order to improve teaching, and learning for the students of the Kent School District.

KEA and KSD returned to the bargaining table this week. The big news is that we reached tentative agreements (TAs) on some items, including:

  • A new “Civility Clause” outlining expectations for respectful communication.
  • Added language requiring that any audio/visual recordings of observations must be mutually agreed upon in writing.
  • Language allowing the district to move to the goal setting model at all elementary schools. This contract change will move elementary conference weeks to October and February and progress reports to January and June.
  • A provision requiring a three week period to roll over a discretionary day ending on June 10th each year.
  • No changes in insurance rates or coverage. The benefit allowance for a 1.0 FTE will remain at $768 per month.

 Your KEA Bargaining Team is now waiting for the district to respond to several proposals, including the Learning Collaboration Days (Late Start / Early Release Days), Supplemental contracts for Nurses and Psychologists, Bereavement Leave and reducing Required Meetings.

Finally, as you know the legislature cut teacher salaries by 1.9%. In June your Representative Council voted for Bargaining Team to take the position of “pay the days or waive the days.” The district has yet to address this issue. While the district has presented a proposed calendar, your KEA team cannot come to a tentative agreement on the calendar until we know how the district will address the 1.9%.

Reminder: Bargaining Updates are posted on the KEA Blog https://kenteducationassociation.wordpress.com/ where you can also post your questions and comments.

General Membership Meeting

August 30, 2011, 5-7 p.m.

Kentwood High School.

 

KEA Bargaining Team

Connie Compton, KEA President

Cindy Prescott, 4th/5th grade, Crestwood/KEA Vice President

Michael Kerstetter, Music, Daniel/KEA Secretary Treasurer

Lisa Brackin-Johnson, Language Arts, Mattson

Brian Thornton, Social Studies, Meridian Middle

Emma Goliff, 1st grade, Panther Lake

Ron Nauer, Science, Meeker

Rose Racicot, Occupational Therapy/Assistive Technology

Sandra Goveia, KEA Uniserv Representative

Protect Your Rights

July 18, 2011

This comes to us from Cindy Prescott, KEA Vice President, on the heels of the NEA Representative Assembly in Chicago where she was busy being one of your representatives, doing the business of education at the national level:

Concerned about the 1.9 percent cut to your salary for next year? How about an $8,000 pay cut? Yes, you read that correctly! If you were a teacher in Wisconsin right now, you’d have just heard the news that your salary will be cut by that amount next year, AND you’ll be required to work an extra hour a day!

Doesn’t sound possible, does it? Because of our education association, we’ve been used to having protection from that type of capricious action. But without our COLLECTIVE BARGAINING RIGHTS (which Wisconsin teachers lost under Governor Scott Walker this last year), the very same thing could happen to us here in Washington state.

It’s been an amazing fall of dominoes to watch what has been happening in Wisconsin, Ohio, Illinois, Idaho, and other states. Thankfully, it hasn’t happened here. But CAN it?

We are living in a political climate in this country that includes a group of billionaires, corporate individuals, and politicians that believe unions are standing in the way of their agenda. It is an organized effort to undermine the rights and benefits we’ve worked hard over the years to put into place and to privatize education.

Is this an alarmist way of thinking? If being able to bargain for a living wage, for benefits that support you and your family during illness, for class sizes and caseloads that give you the ability to really reach all your students, and for a workload that is reasonable is an alarmist point of view, then put me in that camp!

We will be voting for the next governor of our state shortly. It is imperative that we, as educators with the best interests of the classroom, search for the facts about the candidates that are running and test their viewpoints against what we know is good for children and educators.

I know! You’re not political and don’t like to get involved in that political ridiculousness, but politics and politicians control our pay, benefits, and the conditions of our classrooms. It is up to us to be the shepherds of the environment we work in. As we all know, our working conditions are our students’ learning conditions. When politicians get out of education, educators can get out of politics.

STAY INFORMED! And stand strong for public education!

 

Bargaining Update

June 30, 2011

 Bargaining Team Goal: To strengthen the KEA contract in the areas of working conditions, compensation, and benefits in order to improve both the teaching and learning conditions for the students of the Kent School District.

More bargaining this week! KEA and KSD held an-all day meeting on Tuesday, June 28. Several proposals were exchanged and we are close on some smaller issues. The district has agreed to bring responses to the KEA proposals at our next meeting. Workload and teacher rights have dominated our discussions. Your KEA Bargaining Team is standing firm on the issue of teacher-directed time. Some of the remaining issues are complex and will not be resolved independently.

Staying informed all summer, as well as communicating with colleagues and community members, gives your bargaining team the power to get the most beneficial settlement for KEA members.

Some members of the KEA team left for Chicago for the NEA Representative Assembly Wednesday morning (June 29). Joint bargaining is scheduled to resume in mid-July.

In other news …
There are three school board positions up for election, two of which are contested. The Kent Educators for Legislative Accountability (KELA) team interviewed the candidates for each position. Look for the recommendations soon.

Don’t forget …

  • Regular Bargaining Updates will also be posted on the KEA Blog where you can also post your questions and comments.
  • General Membership Meeting, 5-7 p.m. Aug. 30, Kentwood High School

KEA Bargaining Team
Lisa Brackin-Johnson, KEA President
Connie Compton, Special Ed., Jenkins Creek
Cindy Prescott, 4th/5th grade, Crestwood
Michael Kerstetter, Music, Daniel
Brian Thornton, Social Studies, Meridian Middle
Emma Goliff, 1st/2nd grade, Panther Lake
Ron Nauer, Science, Meeker
Rose Racicot, Occupational Therapy/Assistive Technology
Sandra Goveia, KEA UniServ Representative

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.

http://jd2718.wordpress.com/2011/03/22/could-i-have-been-a-great-teacher-without-a-union-no-never/

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 http://www.kentea.org. 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.