South Kitsap teachers approve one-day walkout

Educators plan to be out of the classroom May 20 to protest the Legislature’s education funding

South Kitsap School District teachers will become the latest in Western Washington to stage a one-day walkout May 20 against the Legislature to protest education funding.

South Kitsap Education Association members voted May 7 to the work stoppage.

SKSD joins a growing list of Western Washington school districts to support one-day walkouts by teachers to voice their disapproval over the Legislature’s education funding. Those issues include full funding for schools, smaller class sizes and pay increases. Other school districts in Kitsap County, including Bainbridge Island, Central Kitsap and North Kitsap, already have done — or are planning — one-day walkouts.

When reached for comment May 8, South Kitsap Education Association president John Richardson said he was in meetings and “too busy” to talk about specifics of the walkout outside of stating that the issues have “nothing to do with our school district.”

Richardson later issued a news release.

“South Kitsap Education Association members packed the John Sedgwick Junior High gymnasium and voted overwhelmingly to walkout on May 20 to send a message to the Legislature that it is past time to fully fund education,” Richardson said. “Imagine the possibilities for South Kitsap School District if it were to receive full funding. South Kitsap educators are deeply committed to student success and this is not a decision that was made lightly. Students need access to resources in order to reach their full potential and we don’t have enough funding to meet the needs of our students.”

Richardson stated in the news release that SKEA also will hold a rally May 20 and he will provide more details as that date approaches.

SKSD superintendent Michelle Reid said Richardson confirmed with her late on May 7 that SKEA approved a walkout. Reid, who was reached during the morning of May 8, said she would have further comment after she analyzed the situation. SKSD spokesperson Amy Miller later issued a news release stating that school would be canceled May 20 and parents should arrange alternative care for their children that day.

“The union has been clear that this walkout is not directed at South Kitsap School District or our local community,” the news release stated. “It is part of a statewide effort to influence the Legislature. The union indicates that its purpose is to apply political pressure to do what teachers believe is right for students. We sincerely regret any inconvenience this causes for our students and families and thank you for your continued understanding and support.”

The last day of school within SKSD was scheduled for June 12, but Miller said that likely will be moved to June 15, pending school-board approval.

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