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Teachers' union, district bury the hatchet

CK school officials and the teachers’ union have buried the hatchet.

Not happy with the management styles of Central Kitsap School District Superintendent Catherine Davidson and personnel administrator, Assistant Superintendent Scott Menard, the Central Kitsap Education Association (CKEA) hit them with a “No confidence” vote May 6.

But on the following Wednesday, May 8, at the board’s regular weekly meeting, union reps and CKSD administrators and board members had a two-hour, closed-door confab.

It was the first of several.

“We’ve had some good discussions on improving communications,” said board President Bob VanDenBurgh at the board’s May 22 meeting. “There will be more cooperation on teacher training, and future study sessions” between administrators and teachers.

Davidson said she was looking forward to more meetings in the fall and throughout the coming school year.

Union President Cheryl Brown and VP Kathy LeTourneau explained in earlier interviews that teachers felt they were left out-of-the-loop in decision making. They also had concerns with a perceived lack of due process by Menard, when teachers were accused of wrongdoing.

Four hundred and ten of the union’s 775 members attended the May 6 union meeting. Sixty-eight percent voted no confidence in Davidson and 99 percent voted no confidence in Menard.

Union officials have said all along they were just trying to send a message, and weren’t calling for resignations.

Following Wednesday’s board session, Brown said “We came away from our meetings very heartened, and believe we’ll be included in administrative meetings on district operating procedures.”

Brown said when teachers heard this at a recent union meeting, “They applauded.” The teachers are in the first year of a three-year contract.

“This gets us back to our common goal, which is educating kids,” VanDenBurgh commented.

The union item was not officially on the agenda, and came up at the end of the meeting at 9 p.m. under “miscellaneous.” The meeting started out with 50 citizens attending. Most left after budget discussions. At the end, there were only a dozen left in the audience.

Board members met at Silver Ridge Elementary School, and will meet in their usual place in the boardroom at the Jenne-Wright administration building on Silverdale Way, June 12, at 7 p.m.

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