ICYMI — Email from LWSD Superintendent, Dr. Traci Pierce

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<Received via email April 23, 2015, 4:08 PM>

Dear Lake Washington School District Families:

The Lake Washington Education Association (LWEA) voted to join in a statewide action against the legislature to protest the lack of education funding in our state.  The LWEA is the organization of professionals and union that represents teachers  in our district. This protest involves a one-day walkout. Eleven districts to the north of us have or will also experience one-day walkouts. At least 15 other local teachers associations in the Puget Sound area have authorized votes by their full membership this week.

LWEA has selected May 6 as the day for their one-day walkout. Therefore, there will be no school for students on May 6 as teachers will not be at work on that day. LWEA worked closely with the district to schedule this action on a day that would minimize disruption for students and parents to the greatest extent possible. The district has been working to determine how to handle activities and events scheduled for May 6 that would be difficult to reschedule. For example, Advanced Placement tests scheduled for that day will be held as planned. Previously scheduled interscholastic competitions will also take place.

While there is now no school for students on May 6, the school day will have to be made up, just as we would make up a snow day or other unforeseen calendar change. The make-up day will be added to the end of the school year. This means June 16 will become a full school day and our last day of school will now be a half day on June 17. There will be no change in graduation dates or the last day of school for seniors. A revised school year calendar will be shared with families.

It is important for families to know that this LWEA action is not directed at the Lake Washington School District or the Lake Washington communities. We share the LWEA’s concern that the legislature should fully fund basic education. We also understand and appreciate the disruption that this change in schedule may cause for families.

 Sincerely,

 Dr. Traci Pierce

 Superintendent

As an aside, it’s interesting that although striking by teachers is “illegal”, there are no consequences for walk-outs or strikes.

http://smartergovernmentwa.org/reminder-teacher-strikes-are-illegal-in-washington/

Seattle Times has a story on the walk-out here.

Seattle’s Attorney General’s office posted this opinion  (AGO 2006 No. 3 – Jan 31 2006):

PUBLIC EMPLOYEES – PUBLIC EMPLOYMENT – SCHOOL DISTRICTS – STRIKES – LABOR – COLLECTIVE BARGAINING – Right of teachers and other employees to strike.

1.         State and local public employees, including teachers, have no legally protected right to strike.

2.         State statute establishes no specific penalties for unlawful public employee strikes; in some cases, courts may grant injunctive relief to prevent or end unlawful strikes.

3.         The Legislature could enact laws establishing penalties for unlawful public employee strikes, provided that such laws are consistent with protected free speech and other state and federal constitutional rights.

So, AP tests and ‘interscholastic’ sports will be continued on the walk-out day, but the other students in the district will be punished by missing a day of school so the teachers can walk-out to protest “too little funding for the state’s public schools.”

The rest of the students will have to make up a day at the end of the year (except Seniors).

Parents who work have to come up with child-care for the full day.

The teachers (by way of Union decision) is breaking a state law by striking.

BUT, there are no consequences (to the strikers, at least) for breaking this law.

As I commented on my Facebook page, this is irritating to me on a number of levels.  Sure, it’s a way for the teachers/unions/district to get their “point” across to the legislature.  But I’m unconvinced that legislators give any more of a crap than the District does about education or constituency desires. I have seen little in the past decade to prove otherwise. And this is not just about legislation and education and funding. This is about the unions showing their muscles.

They KNOW it’s “illegal” but they also know the law has no teeth. On top of that, there’s little accountability between any of them to actually do what’s promised.

Questions:

Are unions still necessary in this day and age?
Do legislators actually represent their constituents or the lobbyists?
Does striking actually make a point or create a host of other issues?
Will it really make any difference and get more funding as desired?

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City of Redmond Positions up for re-election 2015

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5 offices in our current City of Redmond legislature will be up for vote this coming August. (August 4th Primary) and November (November 3 General Election).  All terms end December 31, 2015.

The first position is Mayor of the City of Redmond; this is a non-partisan office.  Currently this position is held by John Marchione.  According to the City of Redmond web page, Mayor Marchione was elected in 2007 and is serving his 2nd term (this election would be running for his third term).  At this time he is unopposed.

The City of Redmond is a classified as a non-charter Code city, that operates under the Mayor-Council plan of government.  (RCW 35A.12, RMC Chapter 1.02)  According to the candidate manual (pg. 14) for King County elections, “All cities in King County are “non-charter code” cities, except the city of Seattle and the towns of Beaux Arts Village, Hunts Point, Skykomish, and Yarrow Point.”

What does the Mayor do?  This varies from city to city, but in Redmond, the Mayor presides over all meetings of Council,   and is responsible for administrative duties; including hiring and firing staff, veto power, implementation of legislation passed by the council and ceremonial duties.  He may also be the tie-breaker vote in council votes.  This is called a “council-strong mayor” structure.

The remaining 4 positions are City Council members.  City of Redmond has 7 council positions; all non-partisan offices in staggered terms.  Council positions run 4 years; 3 positions expire in 2017 (Kimberly Allen Position 4, Byron Shutz Position 2 and John Stilin Position 6).  “The City Council adopts the City budget, establishes law and policy, approves appropriations and contracts, levies taxes and grants franchises.”

Tom Flynn (Pos. #5) is retiring at the end of his term; at this time only one person has announced intent to run for his position.   Parks and Trails Commissioner Angela Birney announced her campaign for Redmond City Council Pos. 5 (Redmond Reporter, February 9, 2015).   At this time she is unopposed.

The other 3 positions are uncontested at this time.  Position 1 is held by Hank Myers.  Hank has been a councilmember since 2008.  Position 3 is held by Hank Margeson and has been a councilmember since 2007.  Position 7 is held by David Carson, who has held the position since 2008.

Persons interested in filing for candidacy must file intent no later than May 15th (page 10). A candidates must be a registered voter, file a Declaration of Candidacy and include either the filing fee or a completed filing fee petition.
Candidate workshops will be held April 24th and 25th.

Nokomis Club is a part of Redmond’s History (Letter)

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Redmond Reporter,

I am a long time resident of the city of Redmond. My family has called the greater Redmond area home for over 100 years. The growth that I have seen in the last 50 years has been positively mind boggling with the change from a sleepy little town of 500 populated mostly by farmers and loggers, to a bedroom community for Boeing and finally to a center of High Tech businesses that have a world-wide reach.

I have long watched this growth and seen some of the pains associated with it but generally have accepted it as the price of progress. However the story of the Nokomis Club building has touched me through to my core. If you do a little Internet research you will discover that the Nokomis Club was truly ahead of its time. Up through the early 60’s Redmond had its own library as the KCLS had not yet moved into town. Due to that the city was responsible for funding and maintaining a library. The Nokomis Club was quite involved in providing financial support for the Library in the early days. My Grandmother Jessie Adams Norman, who was a school teacher was active in Nokomis and was one of the wonderful women that helped support our library in those days. As a youth, a visit to the library was always an event that I looked forward to as there were many different places I could visit just by reading the volumes contained within those walls.

Currently the Nokomis Club building is going to be demolished in order to make room for new construction in the area that surrounds the building.   The contractor plans to use a small amount of the materials salvaged from the demolition in the construction of the planned new building, which hardly pays homage to the women who stepped up to provide a needed service to this Community. Sadly there is no interest at the highest levels of City government to do anything to prevent this building from being demolished.

Please take a moment and visit this website to learn more about the Nokomis Club and its impact on the history of Redmond.[ http://nokomisclub98052.org/library.html ]. This is the story of a group of forward thinking women on a philanthropic mission to help our town.

The Nokomis Club is a part of my heritage and a very important part of our City’s history. Let’s not allow this landmark to slip through our hands and be lost forever.

Russell L. Norman

Redmond, WA

(Cross-posted on the Redmond Reporter, Facebook and Redmond Neighborhood Blog)

Email to Deputy Superintendent, Janene Fogard

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Janene, thanks for your reply.  I’ve had a chance to review your information and had a few more questions; more for the planning committee than necessarily for you.

1)  How much is remaining of un-used bond funds from previously approved bonds?  What uses are these funds ear-marked for now?

2)  I understand that building a portable is less expensive and speedier that building a permanent structure; but isn’t the lifespan of a portable significantly less than that of a permanent building if we use the 30-40 year lifespan or a permanent building before modernization is necessary?

3)  And, as most temporary classrooms only house at most two classrooms (average 30 students per classroom), but a permanent building similar to the “B Wing” at Redmond High School could house 10-14 classroom spaces plus bathroom facilities; wouldn’t it be more cost AND TIME effective to build permanent classroom structures at sites where multiple temporary classrooms are existing?

I’m thinking of the site at Rockwell Elementary, for instance.  There are 5 portable classrooms on site presently; I’ve been told this is the maximum allowed at this site.  As Rockwell would be likely to be in the next modernization phase (and was, in fact slated to be in Phase 3 of the old plan); wouldn’t it be prudent to have plans drawn for the planned modernization including layout of new building(s)?

If the plans were drawn with layout of new buildings, one of the things the committees, et al could provide was location of a permanent building to replace the temporary buildings.  The location of the permanent building could be in the footprint of the existing temporary classrooms or worked into the future plan so that it wouldn’t need to be destroyed with construction of the new building.

Assuming the footprint of 5 temporary classrooms is greater than the footprint of one permanent structure (again similar to “B Wing” at RHS), after the permanent structure was completed, it would have less of an impact on the location than 5 temporary buildings.  The permanent building could then be attached to or connected in some way to the planned and to-be-built new school on the same Rockwell site.

I’m also persuaded that voters might be more willing to vote “YES” on Bond issues for new/modernized schools and structures if they felt that the planned projects capacity would actually be applicable for more than 10 years of the 30-40 year life span of buildings.  My case(s) in point are Redmond High School, Lake Washington High School and Horace Mann Elementary schools which were built without capacity increases that would have provided for a growth in the areas they serve.

Granted, Horace Mann is housing temporary classrooms based on over-crowding at Rockwell Elementary; but while the District is shifting the boundaries in many neighborhoods, many more areas in LWSD are still experiencing HUGE building growth which will only ADD to the capacity issues and not lessen them (for instance all the multi-family housing in downtown Redmond and Overlake areas).

Thank you for your response and your time.