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Letters to the Editor - June 13, 2011

  • Written by Readers

Long wait for the school calendar could mean strike ahead

Things aren’t looking good for the 2011-2012 school year. We have no school calendar yet — an announcement normally made in April or May.

The district’s last message about the school calendar is dated May 3 and speaks to the special session of the Legislature, but that ended on May 25.

Delays in announcing the school calendar are a symptom of teacher contract negotiations that are not going smoothly.

Word on the education street is that the Northshore district is targeted for a teacher strike this year. I hope that doesn’t happen.

Now we are less than two weeks from the end of the school year.

If teachers leave for the summer without voting on a contract, then parents may have to wait until late August to know when school will begin.

As a working parent (about 70 percent of all moms work outside the home), I hope I have enough vacation time to stay at home with my kids in September, because I fear that we won’t be starting school on time.

I would encourage parents to begin to form cooperatives so that they have childcare plans in place should there be a delay in the start of the school year.

Managing state budget cuts this year will be trickier than ever.

Yet there has been no input gathered from parents about how those cuts should be made.

We will return from summer vacation with services that have decreased and class sizes that have increased. There is no other way to balance the budget.

It is critical that those sitting on both sides of the bargaining table realize that no one wins if school is delayed, and parents deserve a voice in how any reductions are made.

Make your voice heard by calling the superintendent at 408-7701 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Susan Stoltzfus, Woodinville

 

Ed. Note: Following is an excerpt from the Northshore School District web site. It was attached to Stoltzfus’ letter.

"2011-12 District Calendar Has Not Yet Been Determined (revised 5/3/11)

By law in Washington State, the school calendar is a mandatory subject of bargaining between the district and the teacher’s union, Northshore Education Association (NSEA). The district and NSEA are awaiting action by the legislature to determine the 2011-13 state budget before starting negotiations on the 2011-12 school year calendar.

Various proposals in Olympia, if enacted, could result in a shortened school year, which would influence the school calendar.

Until that issue is known, negotiations on the calendar with our teachers’ association are at a standstill, including outlines of a calendar such as start date and major holidays/breaks.

The legislature is in a 30-day special session. The district is hopeful, although not overly optimistic, that an agreement on a budget will be reached within the next couple weeks.

Once the budget is finalized, we will work as quickly as possible to develop a calendar.

As soon as both parties have an agreement on the calendar and we receive approval from the Board of Directors, we will send out an announcement and post the calendar on the Northshore School District Web site. We regret the inconvenience caused by this delay and understand the frustration of parents."

Editor Note: Teachers and the district reached an agreement after the newspaper went to press

 

Reminder about campaign signs

Candidates for political office have begun filing for the upcoming election season.

As the sister of a former school district employee, I would like to remind school district administrators that demanding that their employees go out and put up campaign signs to support an administrator’s favorite candidate for the school board is a violation of the law.

School district administrators cannot "state or imply that their job performance will be judged according to their willingness to use their own time on a campaign." (RCW 42.17.130).

This is something that has happened in the past and it is very upsetting that any school district employee should feel pressured by their supervisor to campaign in this way.

I hope Superintendent Françoise will be clear with everyone on staff that this type of behavior will no longer be tolerated.

TM Young, Woodinville

 

Happy running

On June 5, 2011, Riverview Education Foundation (REF)hosted the 6th annual Duvall 5K/10K runs under sunny blue skies.

It was a great morning of competition and camaraderie and REF wants to say thank you to Duvall and the surrounding running communities for your participation.

We also want to say thanks to our amazing volunteers. This event was made possible by a dedicated group of course marshals, medical personnel, water station workers, registration volunteers, post-race food coordinators, sweeps, pacers, photographers, finish chute workers and clean up crew. Without them, there would simply be no race. They do a tremendous job.

Hats off to our wonderful sponsors as well.

Please visit them at http://www.refweb.org/duvallrun_sponsors.htm.

We sure are grateful for their help and support. Their generosity makes fundraising for health and wellness programming in the Riverview School District a reality.

We sincerely appreciate their hands-on community involvement.

So a big thanks to all of you and save the date — we’ll see you at the start line in June 2012.

Happy running!

Paige Denison, race director, and Dean Vergillo, course director

  

Respect on school board is important

Although I can not always attend every meeting of the Northshore School District School Board, I am informed of what transpires during those meeting from my colleagues who are able to attend most meetings.

I am constantly impressed at the leadership shown in recent year and the fact that the present board is willing to ask tough questions and make informed decisions, and not merely agree to everything the school district asks for.

Such a change is truly refreshing.

The current school board has shown its desire to support the needs of the students, as well as represent the community as a whole.

Even when the school board feels the need to vote "no" on an agenda item, they do so in a respectful way, showing that they value the work of district staff.

Their respect for educators, support staff and administrators is evident in everything they do.

Jenny Day, Bothell

 

 

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