Teachers request they join 'Day of Action'

It may not seem like much — only one day out of 180 instructional days.

But to unions representing teachers and staff at Central Kitsap schools, the “State Day of Action” on Jan. 14 is a big deal.

CKEA President Christi McCorkle, and Sue Watson, CKESP president, attended the CK school board meeting Nov. 26, and made a polite but formal request to participate.

Unions see the day as an opportunity for lower-echelon employees and workers to show support to legislators for education funding.

“We don’t want any children to suffer because of the economy,” McCorkle said. “At least let’s not lose any ground. We’re not trying to get more money.”

The Central Kitsap Education Association (teachers) have voted to participate Jan. 14.

“The motion passed by 68 percent,” McCorkle said.

However, getting a day off is problematic. The school-year calendar is a rigid instrument.

McCorkle said CKEA leaders are willing to discuss the most convenient way to change the ordinarily fixed calendar to accomodate a day off. Teachers could use one of the days protected in their contract, such as Jan. 31; March 14 (a non-school day); a day during Spring Break; or June 19, a snow make-up day.

She said she hopes the board will make a decision by Dec. 11.

In a letter presented at the school board, McCorkle and the CKEA invited the Board, administrators, and constituents to come along to the state capital.

“Quality schools, quality communities, a quality state — help us to fully fund education in Washington now,” McCorkle said.

Watson’s letter and comments were briefer. She said 63 percent of members of Central Kitsap Educational Support Professionals (CKESP) voted recently, and 70 percent of those supported the day off.

CKESP includes secretaries and clerks, bus drivers and custodians, and other support staff.

The two unions said as of Nov. 26, 79 locals around the state would close that day to participate. The idea, said McCorkle, is to show sheer force of numbers, and not to formally meet with any particular legislators. She said 35,000 teachers around the state plan to attend.

Watson said the plan is for teachers and staffers to march down Capitol Way in Olympia.The road will be closed for the march.

Teachers in North Kitsap and Bainbridge have voted to participate. South Kitsap will not and Bremerton teachers have yet to decide.

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