District facing its financial crisis

In late 2017, the state Supreme Court directed the Legislature to address teacher salaries. The Supreme Court identified April 2018 as the deadline for the Legislature. This action created Senate Bill 6362.

SB 6362 addressed mainly teacher salaries. If you search SB 6362 online, you would access a Legislature website that provides a timeline for the bill and links to its content. SB 6362 started on Jan. 3 and completed with Gov. Jay Inslee’s signature on March 27. The point is information was publicly available to everyone, including all school districts.

Despite SB 6362, KSD elected to lay off 127 teachers, ignoring the positive indicators. KSD chose not to share with the public the prospects for SB 6362’s passing. Not until March 27, when the bill became law, was there any acknowledgment from KSD. In addition, KSD campaigned heavily to encourage the public to vote yes to levies on the February 2018 ballot but never mentioned SB 6362.

When released, SB 6362 contained a provision whereby the state acknowledged that final determination of funds provided would be up to the individual school districts. This clause acknowledged school districts need to adhere to their collective bargaining agreements.

This brings us back to KSD. Indications are that KSD will ignore stagnant salaries by offering a 3.1 percent raise. However, KSD to date has not shared its budget plan that now includes $100 million in taxpayer money (SB 6362 and the two levies). It would seem KSD needs to be reminded that teacher salaries are only the tip of the financial iceberg.

– Fred Munch

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