SJISD teachers' union and superintendent will negotiate through weekend

It was supposed to be the second day of the new school year but instead of being in the classroom, San Juan Island School District teachers were on the picket line Friday, September 1, 2017. Negotiations with the school district broke down August 31 and 97% of the union members approved a strike. The union also approved a vote of no confidence in Superintendent Dr.  Danna Diaz. 

The audience waits for the school board to arrive. The board met in executive session prior to the open public meeting. People arrived early. 

School Board Chair Ralph Hahn,  referring to the no confidence vote, told the dozens of teachers, community members and students who attended Friday afternoon's school board meeting, "The vote was misplaced. It should have been about the board." He explained that the superintendent is the board's employee and has received instructions from them. She negotiates on their behalf.

At the meeting, the board listened to comments from the audience including two elementary school students. (Madison's comments are on the video at the end of this article.)

A young boy said, "Teachers need to get paid. They are helpers. We need them and they need us."

School Counselor Gordie Waite thanked the audience, which filled the high school library, for attending and for their support. Referring to the honking as people drove by the pickets, he said, "It was amazing to be outside."

Amelia Felton, the mother of two students who have individualized education plans (IEP) through the special education program said, "The district is falling apart from the top to the bottom."

As of the past school year, 14 percent of SJISD's student population  have IEPs in the special education program. There were an average of 111 special education students for the 2016/2017 school year. The totals ranged from 94 in September to 129 in June. The total enrollment averaged 798 ranging from 795 in September to 792 in June. In May enrollment was 801. 

Hahn said part of the financial crunch is due to having 35 fewer students. The majority of the difference according to Hahn is because the graduating class had 63 students, while the Kindergarten class had 48.  Budget details are available on the SJISD website. Go to Board Docs

The union is asking for a 5 percent Cost of Living adjustment. According to their Facebook page:

"Dr. Diaz and the board refuse to invest in the quality teachers our students deserve. Professional, competitive pay is necessary to attract and keep caring, qualified, committed teachers for students in the San Juan Island School District. Yet the teacher pay proposals from Supt. Diaz and her negotiators have fallen far short.

"Under Supt. Diaz’ current contract proposal, San Juan educators would fall further and further behind our peers in other districts. 

"Additionally, we believe educators should have more control over their own professional development choices and the purchase of curriculum and support materials from dedicated classroom budgets. When it comes to education, San Juan teachers know what’s best for our students and schools!"

On the SJISD website:

According to SJISD Superintendent Danna Diaz, “This is a very difficult situation for our entire community. The District is committed to resolving this situation as quickly as possible. Strikes do end, and at that time we will work together again on our shared mission of educating students.”

The Kitsap Sun has posted salaries of the teachers in all 39 counties in the state.  The information can be viewed here. The Washington K–12 Salary Allocation Schedule for Certificated Instructional Staff  is posted on the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction website. The state determines the number of teachers per district and the district receives state funds to cover that number. Districts can use local funds to pay for more staff and/or pay their staff a higher wage.

Using the Kitsap Sun's database:

A teacher with less than 1 year of  experience and a bachelor's degree in San Juan Island earns $45,661 ($35,700 + $9,961) compared to a teacher with 1.9 years experience and a bachelor's degree in Coupeville who earns $45,350 ($36,638 + $8,712). (Editor's Note: It was difficult to find an identical comparison.) 

A teacher with more than 16 years experience and a masters degree would earn $82,764 ($67,288 + 15,476) on San Juan Island compared to $83,287 ($67,288 + $15,999) in Coupeville and compared to  $80,736 ($67,288 + $13,448) on Orcas Island. 

The base salaries for San Juan Island teachers  is identical to the state's K-12 allocation schedule. The contract that expired August 31, 2017 included the salary charts shown below. 

Table Of Total Base Salaries For Certificated Instructional Staff for 2016-17 school year
Years of Service BA BA+l5 BA+30 BA+45 BA+90 BA+135 MA MA+45 Ph.D
0 35,700 36,664 37,663 38,665 41,877 43,946 42,801 46,014 48,085
1 36,181 37,158 38,170 39,215 42,461 44,519 43.,277 46,523 48,580
2 36,638 37,625 38,648 39,774 43,011 45,090 43,756 46,993 49,073
3 37,110 38,107 39,140 40,302 43,533 45,662 44,210 47,439 49,569
4 37,573 38,613 39,653 40,855 44,104 46,250 44.686 47,936 50,082
5 38,051 39,096 40,146 41,415 44,652 46,841 45,170 48,409 50,597
6 38,542 39,565 40,650 41,982 45,204 47,404 45,666 48,888 51,087
7 39,405 40,443 41,543 42,947 46,218 48,478 46,595 49,863 52,125
8 40,669 41,763 42,889 44,410 47,724 50,068 48,056 51,371 53,714
9   43,131 44,313 45,888 49,280 51,703 49,533 52,926 55,350
10     45,752 47,442 50,879 53,383 51,088 54,526 57,029
11       49,041 52,553 55,107 52,687 56,200 58,753
12       50,590 54,272 56,903 54,350 57,918 60,550
13         56,033 58,742 56,070 59,679 62,388
14         57,803 60,651 57,842 61,565 64,297
15         59,307 62,229 59,345 63,165 65,969
16         60,493 63,472 60,532 64,429 67,288

 

Responsibility Stipend - 23% of 2016-17 SAM (includes 4 local days) for 2016-17 school year
Years of Service  BA BA+l5 BA+30 BA+45 BA+90 BA+135 MA MA+45 Ph.D
0 8,211 8,433 8,662 8,893 9,632 10,108 9,844  10,583 11,060
1 8,322 8,546 8,779 9,019 9,766 10,239 9,954 10,700 11,173
2 8,427 8,654  8,889 9,148 9,893 10,371 10,064 10,808 11.287
3 8,535 8,765 9,002 9,269 10,013 10,502 10,168 10,911 11,401
4 8,642 8,881 9,120 9,397 10,144 10,638 10,278 11,025 11,519
5 8,751 8,992 9,234 9,525 10,270 10,773 10,389 11,134 11,637
6 8,865 9,100 9,350 9,656 10,397 10,903 10,503 11,244 11,750
7 9,063 9,302 9,555 9,878 10,630 11,150 10,717 11,468 11,989
8 9,354 9,605 9,864 10,214 10,977 11.516 11,053 11,815 12,354
9   9,920 10,192 10,554 11,334 11,892 11,393 12,173 12.731
10     10,523 10,912 11,702 12,278 11,750 12,541 13,117
11       11,279 12,087 12,675 12,118 12,926 13,513
12       11,636 12,483 13,088 12,501 13,321 13,927
13         12,888 13,511 12,896 13,726 14,349
14         13,295 13,950 13,304 14,160 14,788
15         13,641 14,313 13,649 14,528 15,173
16         13,913 14,599 13,922 14,819 15,476

The negotiations will continue through the holiday weekend.

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