Lots of work to do

We have just a short few weeks before the 2013-2014 school year begins. Since the end of last school year, we’ve spent seven days bargaining. Because the Washington State Legislature special session went so long into the summer, the district told us they were not able to bargain on any issues involving money.

Once the session finally ended and the legislature settled on a budget, we began bargaining again at the end of July. South Kitsap School District is receiving $4.77 million more this coming year.

We have reached tentative agreements on some smaller issues, but have not yet made as much progress as we hoped on class size and elimination of split grades in our elementary schools.

We believe the District’s last proposal, which would increase class sizes in our secondary grades by three students, will harm our students and prevent us from helping them with academic achievement. The District told us, “We feel the current elementary class sizes are very manageable.”

We heartily disagree.

Currently, we are still working on several smaller issues where we believe we are in agreement to make sure our final contract language is solid. Issues still on the table include class size, professional development, health care, SLP and psychology caseloasd, special education preschool class size, high school climate and a host of other issues.

At this time, our teams are scheduled to negotiate Aug. 14, 15, 16 and Aug. 21, 22, 23. We are ready and willing to add as many more days as needed to come to a FAIR agreement.

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