NK union votes no confidence in school board, superintendent

Members of the North Kitsap Education Association voted overwhelmingly to express no confidence in the leadership of the NK school district’s school board and superintendent Laurynn Evans at a meeting June 14 at Kingston Middle School.

Some 99% of members attending voted no confidence in the board, and 98% voted no confidence in Evans, per an NKEA news release.

NKSD spokesperson Jenn Markaryan said on behalf of the district: “We are shocked and saddened to receive this news. We have already begun efforts to gather relevant facts and understand the various perspectives because we need to move forward for our students, staff and community. Our teachers are the heart of our schools, and we are committed to working collaboratively to support North Kitsap students.”

Union members also decided unanimously to meet Aug. 22 to determine a course of action up to and including strike authorization if the district and union are unable to reach a tentative agreement on a new contract by then. The current contract expires Aug. 31.

NKEA members and district officials have met several times since bargaining began May 17, and while union members hope to reach an agreement this summer, they are troubled by what they see as mismanagement and a strong-arm leadership style in the district, including numerous equity issues that harm students, the release states.

“It’s disappointing it had to come to this, but it has been five years of trying to collaborate with Dr. Laurynn Evans and our school board to find solutions and help our kids,” said NKEA president Ted Jez, who teaches science and robotics at KMS.

Jez, who has worked in the district since 1999, said that his colleagues in NK schools have reported frustration with the administration for two years of unusually negative climate survey responses about the superintendent’s performance, per the release. Union leaders have reached out to the administration to discuss the need for change but were rebuffed, it adds. The school board recently renewed Evans’ contract for another three years.

“The message is clear to the staff of NKSD and the parents and community,” Jez said. “Our voices, thoughts, actions and work to create positive change for our kids do not seem to matter to NKSD leadership.”

The NKSD statement says: “We have great respect for the individuals at the bargaining table, and with that we will not discuss any of the details of the bargaining process. We are committed to offering a competitive compensation package and are confident that those at the table will come to an agreement this summer.”

NKEA is made up of 350 educators in the NKSD. It is affiliated with the Washington and National education associations, both of which represent K-12 teachers, support staff and higher-ed employees.