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Reid gives negotiation update, SKEA says talks broke down

Superintendent Michelle Reid reported on contract negotiations in her blog Sunday that the South Kitsap School District and the South Kitsap Education Association have current proposals on the table in an endeavor to reach agreement on a new contract.

The current contract runs through Saturday, Aug. 31.

“Both sides have worked steadfastly to keep the focus on the whole child and what is best for all children, no exceptions,” Reid said.

She said the district and SKEA have both attempted to address major issues, such as class size, split classes and compensation.

“While we are not yet at the point of agreement, I believe we will come together and reach a responsible agreement soon,” Reid said. “The tone and tenor of the conversations continue to be rooted in good faith, shared purpose and civility. I am encouraged by the progress we are making and know that while difficult; these are crucial conversations for members of the teaching and administrative leadership of the district to be having at this time.”

But SKEA officials reported on their blogs that a “sticking point” with the district continues to be class sizes and contract negotiations broke down Sunday.

“Teachers are asking for adequate and safe class sizes,” said Judy Arbogast, SKEA past president. “The district, instead, is offering to pay teachers a minuscule amount for overloading the already highly packed classes.”

Arbogast said middle school teachers have been reporting they have 37-plus students in math classes held in portables that hold no more than 32 students and that elementary teachers also are angry because they are asking to eliminate split classes.

“With new Common Core standards just around the corner, it will be nearly impossible to teach split classes,” Arbogast said.

Members voted last spring to ratify a contract today or go on strike. At the today’s meeting, SKEA members will have the opportunity to hear from the bargaining team and discuss next steps.

SKEA members are meeting at 4:30 p.m. at South Kitsap High School to hear recommendations from their bargaining team, their executive board and their bargaining support team regarding next steps in contract negotiations, Arbogast said.

 

Read more from the superintendent’s blog at http://www.skitsap.wednet.edu/Page/345

 

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