Eighty-six percent of the teachers voted to strike. Classes in Kent are supposed to start on Monday. Kent is the 4th largest district in the state and their teachers have never gone on strike before.
From the article:
"Michael Imbruglio, a chemistry teacher at Kentlake High, said he saw 150 students each day this past school year, compared with about 90 the previous year, when he taught in the Federal Way School District."
So I'd have to check but Federal Way is likely the same size as Kent; that is a lot more students to be handling in a day (although I think it is probably the number that an average SPS high school teacher has).
"The teachers want the district to use some of its $21 million in reserves to reduce the number of students in each class, which, Brackin Johnson said, is as high as 45 in some high-school classes, and 31 in first and second grades.
They also want fewer meetings, so they have more time to help students before and after school.
Valerie Munch, who teaches math at Northwood Middle, said she now has a meeting of some sort every day before school, and no longer can open her classroom early to answer questions from students, or give them a place to finish their homework."
That's a pretty hefty reserve (although the district said most of it is already earmarked which begs the question of why they call it a reserve). Those are some big classes if what they are saying is true. I'm not sure I know of any high school is SPS that has a class size above 35.
Class size seems a big issue in this strike.
"And in a proposal delivered to the union just before the Wednesday meeting started, the district offered to put a paraprofessional in fifth- and sixth-grade classrooms if there are more than 30 students, down from the current threshold of 32. It also proposed to form a committee of teachers, classified staff and community members to discuss class size.
Hanks said reducing class size is so expensive that such a move needs to be discussed by a broad group, because it could adversely affect the district's financial stability.
The district says it would cost $2.7 million to reduce each class by one student. The union disputes those figures."
First, I'm sure the teachers looked at that offer and said, "Yay! Another committee! Oh boy!" Really? That's the best the district could say?
Second, we voted on I-728 to reduce class size and yet that money seems to be being used for anything but. Why does Kent's district, our district take all the money and use it to lower class sizes? It's weird but you hear this in district after district about the I-728 money.