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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