SKEA ratifies contract with SK School District

Although the specifics are not yet available, South Kitsap School District officials have confirmed that the South Kitsap Education Association (SKEA) has ratified a renewed contract with the district.

The teachers’ union met on Thursday to vote on the document, which falls to the school board’s hands July 18.

The ratification follows on the heels of the tentative 2007-08 budget for the district, in which teachers received state-funded cost-of-living adjustments (COLA) but the district faced $1.7 million in adjustments — around $1.1 million came in the form of actual cuts.

Terri Patton, assistant superintendent of business services, fears that in coming years, the district will have to cut staff. The district has made more than $4 million in cuts since 2003, and is running out of “easier” cuts, Patton said.

Patton credited the tight budget to lower-than-estimated levy equalization funds.

The initial $2.3 million estimate dropped to $1.2 million this year.

Greg Roberts, assistant superintendent of personnel, could not comment on the specifics of the contract ratification until the board sees it, but said the contract was drafted through a collaborative process.

Rather than sending counter-proposals either direction, the district and SKEA discussed the contract issue by issue.

“The benefit to the interest based, collaborative process is you end up with a better product,” Roberts said. “Hopefully, together you end up with something to reach both parties.”

The board will look at the contract at its July 18 meeting at 6 p.m.

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