SKEA members at Discovery spent a bit of the day clearing personal items from the school since we won’t be entering if we don’t have a reasonable settlement in time. One member is carrying her copy of the Emancipation Proclamation.
Thank you to all SKEA members who shared their class sizes with the public this afternoon after their professional development day. A HUGE thanks, also, to the WEA Chorus, who sang while members marched from the high school down to Mile Hill Road. Elementary members took photos and shared them with the school board (see below for lots of photos). Media coverage was evident as members chanted, sang and walked their way to Mile Hill where they received lots of waves, honks and thumbs up from those driving by.
The district postponed bargaining for the day telling us they had not yet crafted a response to SKEA’s proposal from yesterday morning. We hope the district will soon be ready with a response by tomorrow.
Media coverage came from above … the weather was balmy but SKEA members wanted to make the community aware of why they voted to go on strike after their contract expires at the end of August. Members made posters with their class size numbers on them and waved at those driving by.
SKEA members congregated this morning at SKHS for a professional development day. A majority of members wore black to raise awareness about the impending strike. They heard from their new superintendent before heading off in different directions. Here is what is happening (or not happening) at the table today:
SKEA presented a proposal yesterday, Aug. 27 around 9:20 a.m.
The district team did not get a counter offer back during the day or evening yesterday
Our SKEA bargaining team came prepared to bargain today, but the mediator called to say the district is not yet ready with a proposal so bargaining is not going on at this time or for the rest of today
We hope to receive a counter proposal tomorrow and resume our negotiations.
Our SKEA bargaining team has been at the district office all day today waiting. A mediator has been shuffling back and forth between teams. SKEA negotiators is saying what we have said from the very beginning: The school board needs to give the district bargaining team an adequate amount of latitude so we can bargain decent class sizes for the students in our community. The district is arranging and rearranging the same inadequate number of positions but, let’s face it, when you cut ten percent of your teaching positions, it’s really hard to figure out a way to address over crowded classes and work to eliminate split classes.
Meanwhile, one of the bargaining team says he has more than one class with 37 students in his junior high math classes.
A junior high science teacher says he simply will not be able to stretch his already-limited lab materials even more to accommodate more students so they won’t be able to experience hands-on science.
One SKEA member measured some of the high school rooms and found that the fire code will not allow the number of desks being proposed for the classrooms.
The district is considering adding another split class at an elementary school – wrong direction.
We will continue to support our SKEA team as they fight to protect students from even larger class sizes. Check local newspapers, TV stations and KUOW radio for media coverage from yesterday and today. If you are an SKEA member, check your home email for other details.
The South Kitsap Education Association Bargaining Team is meeting today with the district’s team in the continuing effort to find a reasonable settlement before our strike is slated to begin in September. We will keep you posted.Wehave spoken with reporters at KUOW this morning. Our members have also spoken with reporters at KOMO, KING, KIRO and KCPQ television stations plus local newspaper reporters. We are letting them know that our issue is still class size and that it is unreasonable to try to shove 37 desks in rooms that are set for 32. We’re letting them know that it is unreasonable to expect junior high science teachers to conduct labs with 35 kids crammed into a room and that there aren’t enough materials to even run a lab with that many students. We are letting them know that voting for a strike was difficult and a last resort, but that we are willing to do this to make sure our students are in a safe learning environment and that they get the opportunity to receive individual attention from their teachers. Finally, we are letting them know that the district needs to address the elimination of split classes with new Common Core standards just around the corner. We will keep you posted.