Laboring on Labor Day

Remember our General Membership Meeting tomorrow, Sept. 3 at 9 a.m. at South Kitsap High School. We will hear from recommendations from the SKEA Executive Board and the Bargaining Support Team, go over our tentative agreement and vote on whether or not to ratify the contract. This is a “members only” meeting. Children of members are welcome. 

Our Executive Board and Bargaining Team and Bargaining Support Team members meet today (Labor Day) to go over the tentative agreement so we can make recommendations tomorrow.

Bargainers bolstered by Sedgwick and Sunnyslope folks

Our bargaining team was greeted this morning with fresh scones and homemade jam prepared by Sunnyslope’s Danna Hallsted.  IMG_3517 A group of supporters including parent, Martina Fears, who has one student at Sunnyslope, one at Cedar Heights and one at SKHS were on hand early this morning to let the team know we appreciate the hours and hours they are putting into making sure our students receive the high quality education they deserve. IMG_3531From left: Ronda Ramsey, Cherryl Christman, Stacey Martin, Chris Korbel, Sue Ach, Ken Durham, Amy Slater, Tom Schmuck, Larry Nelson, Kathy Bates, Carol Nelson, Debbie Snowden, Danna Hallsted, Judy Arbogast and parent Martina Fears showed their support this morning.

Sedgwick’s Sue Ach patiently waits for the SKEA bargaining team. IMG_3537 SKEA’s Jenni Duggan is all smiles as she walks through the group of cheering supporters.IMG_3562

Bargaining today

SKEA members from Burley Glenwood dropped off treats and inspiration for the SKEA bargaining team

Goodies for a good bargain

What’s coming up

Keep the two upcoming meetings at the front of your minds:

  • South Kitsap School District Board Meeting, Wednesday, Aug. 21 at 6 p.m. at the District Office. This is a chance to show our solidarity. Wear red and come show your support.
  • South Kitsap Education Association General Membership Meeting Monday, Aug. 26 at 4:30 currently scheduled at SKHS (assume the meeting is there and we’ll let you know if there is a change). We will be hearing from our SKEA bargaining team that day to decide whether to ratify a contract or go on strike based on the motion we passed last May. Just 13 days to go.
    • If you are at your school on Aug. 26 (before our meeting), please wear red to show solidarity and support.

What’s happening now

Bargaining going on today, tomorrow and Friday

Your SKEA Bargaining Team is currently at the negotiating table bolstered by this morning’s very visual support from SKEA members from Burley Glenwood Elementary and SKHS. Headed by Burley Glenwood’s Stacy Nadeau and assisted by Burley Glenwood teacher Nancy Anderson, the bathrooms and bargaining room were plastered with candy grams and posters of support from SKEA members. Nadeau  said it was “a hoot” to greet our team with posters and a basket of sweets. Thank you to all members who participated in supporting our SKEA team.

We are talking about:

  • Protecting our secondary students from higher class sizes than we had last year. All our students deserve a safe learning environment and appropriate class sizes;
  • Eliminating split classes at elementary schools;
  • Asking questions about sizable amounts of money set aside and the District’s spending priorities;
  • Enlightening the other team to see that with new monies coming in from the state and the levy, our school district can have a healthy fund balance and provide much-needed class size relief for our students;
  • Helping them understand that the elimination of 61 positions is unnecessary and bad for students.

Our team is sharing proposals base on the facts below.

What about the numbers?

For those of you who like digging deeper, here are some numbers:

Our new state revenues include $4.7 million in new state revenue, more than $1.8 million in levy revenue and $94,000 in new levy equalization money for a total of $6.7 million. There is nearly a $5 million in savings from reducing 61.3 positions. There is more than enough money to restore all the eliminated positions and still have a robust fund balance. More on this coming soon.

Your Bargaining Support Team members meet later this week. You may hear from them to ask for you to show your support. We look forward to keeping you posted at the end of today’s session. Your bargaining team below: WEA Olympic UniServ Rep. Randy Paddock, T. Michael Burch, John Richardson, Susan Hinckley-Porter, Back-up Bargainer Mike McNett, Jenni Duggan and Mary Hawksley. For one more photo from today, see below. Also, more photos can be found today on Judy Arbogast’s Facebook page.

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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.