Kent schools: Take care of your heart, your teachers

The heart is the most vital organ. How you treat your heart largely determines how healthy you are. If you spend years neglecting this precious organ, it will reach a point where it will no longer be able to give you the life you want and need.

Just as the heart is the most vital part of the body, teachers are the most vital part of any school district. The Kent School District has a history of neglecting and disregarding the needs of its heart, the teachers. For years, the teachers have sacrificed, worked tirelessly, paid out of pocket for classroom necessities, as well as given up many things for the good of the students and, most recently, to help the district in its financial crisis.

As ordered by the Washington State Supreme Court, over the past two years, the state Legislature approved $2 billion for K-12 educator compensation. Our taxes are rising for this purpose. We have a right and obligation to hold our local districts accountable for their use of this money. We need to support our teachers more than ever and make sure our money is being spent the way the Legislature said it would be spent.

Many districts and teachers have successfully negotiated salary increases from 12 to 34 percent. However, teachers in some districts are having to fight for this money, which has been allocated for their salaries. The Kent School District is one of them. The Kent School District will receive approximately $75 million for K-12 educator salaries.

It’s no secret that the Kent School District struggles to manage its money. The school district often reminds everyone how financially distraught it is, yet it can hire a high-powered lawyer to fight the organ that gives it life. Approximately 300 teachers have left the district since April 15 and more will follow if the district does not take care of its teachers.

The financial problems the district is experiencing is not due to the decisions of the teachers. However, it is attempting to take the money given for educator salaries to “blacken” the red numbers in its budget.

Why does Kent School District believe it can use the money for something other than what it was designated by the Legislature? The Kent School District had a plan to get rid of its deficit before this money was allotted. Stick to the plan. How can it ethically and in good conscience continue to abuse this vital part of their existence, yes, the teachers?

Take care of your heart, Kent School District, and it will take care of you.

– Kristin Pinter

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