Lack of funding could prompt island teachers to strike

The Bainbridge Island Education Association has told the Bainbridge Island School Board it will hold a strike vote in August 2017 if lawmakers failed to amply fund education.

Union Representatives Lisa Hale and Larry Holland read from a prepared statement by BIEA at a recent board meeting and told district officials the union’s membership had agreed to take the step, if necessary.

It’s just the latest attempt by school workers to draw attention to inadequate funding for public schools.

“Members have been traveling to Olympia, waving signs on street corners, and calling members of the Legislature to demand full funding of basic education. Last week, our members voted unanimously to meet in August 2017 to take a strike vote if Washington state lawmakers fail to amply fund education,” the statement to the school board said.

“Other Education Associations in our region and across the state are taking similar action,” the statement continued.

“We are here to ask, respectfully, that the Bainbridge Island School Board, school district administration and all concerned members of the Bainbridge Island community, join us in these efforts. We know many of you already have. But continued pressure is needed because the time is now to achieve ample and stable funding for our schools. With the state facing a deadline established by the Supreme Court, now is when real progress has a chance,” the statement concluded.

Following the meeting, Hale, along with Superintendent Peter Bang-Knudsen and Board President Sheila Jakubik, drafted a letter to State House Representatives Sherry Appleton and Drew Hansen, as well as Washington State Senator Christine Rolfes. The letter states that despite the lack of funding, the district is making do with what little it already has.

“We are doing the best we can, but a big chunk of information is missing: What will we receive from the state?” the letter reads.

“Ensuring all staff are afforded fair compensation is an interest which we believe that is shared, and one which can only be addressed if the Legislature commits to embracing the premise of doing no harm to districts and their staff in this area.

“Providing educational support and services to our most vulnerable students is one of BISD’s highest priorities. We have continued to find the state and federal funding in this area woefully inadequate, and therefore commit significant portions of our Educational Programs and Operations (EP&O) levy to support our Special Education Services,”

The letter also referenced the fact that Carter McCleary — whose parents filed the McCleary suit in 2007 which determined the state’s responsibility to adequately fund basic education — recently graduated from high school.

“It’s too late to fully fund Carter McCleary’s education, but it’s not too late for the more than one million Washington students arriving for the 2017-18 school year.”

While the letter urged state representatives to adequately fund education, there wasn’t any mention of a potential strike, and school officials remained tight-lipped about the possibility of a walkout.

“I appreciate that BIEA leadership is keeping clear lines of communication open with the district and we continue to work together to encourage the state to fully fund education,” Jakubik said.

When asked if she would support a strike by teachers, Jakubik would not comment.

More in News

.
Kitsap has 179 new COVID cases in last 24 hours

On Thursday, the Kitsap Public Health District confirmed 179 new COVID cases… Continue reading

.
BI pair object to waste of Pfizer vaccine

It could be used to help many in developing countries

The BI Planning Commission is now looking at the Wintergreen Project. Courtesy illustration
Planning panel split on Wintergreen

The Bainbridge Island Planning Commission looks to be split regarding the Wintergreen… Continue reading

.
BI to bundle transportation projects

Let’s get ready to bundle. That was the consensus of the Sustainable… Continue reading

.
Enrollment up from last year at BISD

Enrollment is up. Bainbridge Island School District superintendent Peter Bang-Knudsen said at… Continue reading

The select committee’s mission, Rep. Kilmer said, is to make Congress more accessible to the American people and to strengthen the institution by better equipping staff members to handle the increasingly complex duties they are asked to perform. (Bob Smith | Kitsap Daily News)
Kilmer roundtable: Working to modernize Congress for the 21st century

Congressman says select committee making strides to achieve bipartisanship

Crew workers finish off the trail. Courtesy Photo
Crew finishes entrance, new trail

Gazzam Lake Preserve has a new south entrance. The park’s department’s Summer… Continue reading

Succession, Courtesy photos
Fall season means new TV shows

With the end of summer just around the corner, more people will… Continue reading

Most Read