the Exposed SHOCKING TRUTH about the District, Teachers Union Contract Negotiations

With Special Guest Star Contributor TACOMA MAMA !
posted Aug 23, 2011
tacoma, tacomic, educations, teacher strike, astro turf
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Inspired by the digital banner spam ad plagued TNT article about the anti-transparent nature of the Teacher/District contract negotiations happening RIGHT NOW, The Tacomic asked education expert Jennifer Boutell (aka the Tacoma to channel her inner "True Grit" to spirit-capture the situation on her blog the fruits of which are copy/pasted here below because we simply can't trust the integrity of's hosting service anymore (damn it).  

Teachers Union, District Yet to Agree on New Contract
Submitted by Jennifer Boutell on August 19, 2011 - 3:22pm

Are you counting on school starting on time September 1st? Best to have a Plan B ready, just in case.

The Tacoma Education Association and Tacoma Public Schools have yet to agree on terms for a new contract.  If a settlement is not reached by the week of August 29th, teachers will vote on whether or not to authorize a strike.

This summer, TEA and the District negotiatiated using an "interest based" method producing little in the way of results.  For the past few weeks, more traditional bargaining has at least shone some light on what issues are in dispute, although agreement still appears to be elusive.

Further complicating matters, a collection of community groups including the local chapter of Stand for Children formed the "Vibrant Schools Tacoma Coalition," intending to influence the talks. (Particularly as they relate to teacher hiring and evaluation practices)  The public is generally not welcome to participate in labor negotiations, and the coalition has not been invited to the table, despite visible pressure at school board meetings.  Meanwhile, some characterize the coalition as an "astroturf" organization, funded by corporate interests bent on union busting.  This might seem paranoid and out of left field, had a founding member of Stand for Children not been caught bragging about doing that very thing in Illinois.  The Teachers Union points to a 150k grant from the Gates Foundation as further evidence of this agenda.

Negotiations are taking place under the cloud of a tremendous budget crisis, brought about by a floundering economy, state budget cuts and a long-term decline in enrollment.  Recent decisions not to close Foss High School and to leave subjects such as art and music relatively untouched were predicated upon finding budgetary savings elsewhere, including the possibility of eliminating some staff by raising the average number of children per staff member.  These changes would have to be negotiated with the TEA before they could take effect.  For their part, TEA insists they have the best interests of Tacoma's children at heart in seeking to preserve small class sizes.

Both sides have as yet been silent on the status of other major issues, such as teacher compensation and hiring.  [8] days remain before the start of the new school year.

* * * 

RR COMMENTARY: And so you see, this Tacomic is a educated guess at what could be happening... but we just don't know. You decide. Meanwhile they let half-wit senile old farts vote in elections, why not lower the voting age to 16 and let the kids have a say?  Check out Chris Van Vechten's  educations rant End Education Without Representation.  

by marumaruyopparai on 8/23/2011 @ 3:20am
I like it that special interests in this Tacomic are represented by robots. This whole situation sounds like a giant cluster [censored].

by fredo on 8/23/2011 @ 5:33am
it's for the children

by jenyum on 8/23/2011 @ 7:44am

by jenyum on 8/23/2011 @ 7:52am
...but to be fair, the district wishes they had that big bag o' money.

by NineInchNachos on 8/23/2011 @ 7:55am
maybe it's just a pillow shaped like a bag of money. or a desert mirage... at any rate you don't actually see any money.

by NineInchNachos on 8/23/2011 @ 7:58am
in the intrest of a fun thought experiment lets try "Intrest Based" Tacomic comments...

I'm interested in chaos and blowing up robots. I'm interested in using cheesy political cartoon cliches... (see the teen with a single tear?)

by Mofo from the Hood on 8/23/2011 @ 7:59am

by jenyum on 8/23/2011 @ 8:00am
The "interest based" thing kills me. Both interest statements read like "we're interested in good schools and happy kids and puppies and rainbows." --Now with unity like that, why didn't they get anywhere?

by fredo on 8/23/2011 @ 8:01am
The WEA and TEA teachers associations were big supporters of Governor Gregoires re-election bid in 2008. So why won't they get on board with Gregoires 1.9% pay cut for teachers? If they don't like the governors policies why did they want us to vote for her?

by NineInchNachos on 8/23/2011 @ 8:09am

by jenyum on 8/23/2011 @ 8:43am
Oh right, Dino Rossi would be the union's best friend I'm sure.

by fredo on 8/23/2011 @ 8:58am
Let's see:

Average teacher pay 2010-2011 school year: $56,000
Proposed 2011-2012 school year $55,000

15,000,000 unemployed in the US and this proposal would represent a problem? The teachers should grab this deal with both hands before it's off the table.

by Ben Ferguson on 8/23/2011 @ 9:09am
When the teacher's union starts putting the interest of STUDENTS first, that is when I will start caring about what they say. My daughters have to put up with a few educators that EVERYONE knows are garbage. The teachers and principals tell us they are sorry and know they are terrible but they are union protected. Our schools are about kids. I am pro-union but this union is OFF THE RAILS.

by fredo on 8/23/2011 @ 9:11am
Let the interest groups watch the process. What harm is there to providing transparency in the deliberations?

by fredo on 8/23/2011 @ 9:16am
Why don't we get rid of those old sourpuss teachers who are paid $60K per year or more to hand out a bunch of worksheets all day, and replace them with a bunch of eager Sandy Dennis types who haven't yet succumbed to the union brain wasting disease and will work for $40K per year? I'd prefer to have some of my property tax money back in my own pocket.

by jenyum on 8/23/2011 @ 9:46am
Neither side in this negotiation has mentioned compensation as a big sticking point. (It could be, but nobody's talking about it.) I have heard* that there's some debate about whether or not to take the pay cut in the form of waiver days. (Asking the state legislature to give Tacoma a waiver so we can have fewer than 180 days of school) The district would rather avoid this.

*not from any official source

by fredo on 8/23/2011 @ 9:55am
I'm sure the teachers will not want any more waiver days. This would be bad for the students, and the teachers always say that we must think of what's good for the children.

Why do we have to give them something because the base salary is reduced? The recession means people are working for less money. In all fairness some important costs facing teachers have also gone down. Housing costs are dramatically lower than they were 2008. A small bungaloo in the 6th ave. neighborhood would have been selling for about $250K. Now its only about $150K.

by jenyum on 8/23/2011 @ 10:06am
...true but those same teachers may own the homes that lost value. (And have mortgages that reflected the inflated prices.) Unfortunately, many of them also have to pay off a masters degree from a private school. There are only a few public schools in WA that offer them and I think only one located in Tacoma.

by fredo on 8/23/2011 @ 10:25am
If teachers bought real estate at the top of the market I don't think that's something the taxpayers should have to concern themselves with.

But for replacement teachers coming into Tacoma they will like the affordable housing even if the job offer is a little less than they would prefer.

Regarding people who have to pay off college degrees, I don't think that's something that should be involved in setting the salaries. Some people took out huge loans to attend private schools, some got free ride scholarships for various reasons.

They always have the option of taking work in the private sector if they don't like the district offer.

by NineInchNachos on 8/23/2011 @ 10:30am
I am interested in astroturf. If I lived in an airstream trailer I would put astroturf on the steps. I am interested in plastic flamingos.

by NineInchNachos on 8/23/2011 @ 10:36am
from ANONYMOUS twitter reply!

"The bags of money under Jarvis are a master stroke. He makes a quarter mil per year and TPS is sitting on a 14% budget surplus... to be specific, not surplus, cash reserve/rainy day fund."

by cisserosmiley on 8/23/2011 @ 10:36am
Honestly, teachers get a great deal around here. Kids not so much? Teachers are more valuable than students so it is fair.
If parents do not care enough to supplement their children's education, then let those kids do poorly in school. If parents do help their kids they will perform better at school.

by jenyum on 8/23/2011 @ 10:54am
Much of those reserve funds are already spoken for. The three year plan to deal with the state budget cuts involves drawing down the reserve fund by 10 million a year every year for the next 3 years. At the end of three years if there are no additional budgetary surprises (which is highly unlikely) we'll be left with a reserve of 9.15 million.

Tacoma Public Schools have done a very good job managing this fiscal crisis without extreme impacts on kids so far and I would not like to see that change.

by NineInchNachos on 8/23/2011 @ 11:01am
previously on the TACOMIC:

What would Chuck Milligan do?

by Jesse on 8/23/2011 @ 11:10am
New rule: if you enter high school and do not graduate, you owe that high school every dime you used up in tuition and costs associated with you being there. GED does not exempt you from these costs. Graduation rates and revenues would go up.

by cisserosmiley on 8/23/2011 @ 11:18am
That's a good idea Jesse. We could expand it and have parents pay a "school fee" each year. Maybe then parents will take on the responsibility of caretaking their children's learning.

by jenyum on 8/23/2011 @ 11:21am
Oh sure just start issuing fines and if kids don't pay they go to prison or their credit is ruined for life. I foresee no problems with this.

by NineInchNachos on 8/23/2011 @ 11:31am
no no, debt prison is the wrong way to go. Sell the children to factories or military. Children's Crusade to the Holy Land II !

by NineInchNachos on 8/23/2011 @ 11:36am
check out my new bus-ride reading material...

Ms. Darcy loaned me her copy. The Tacomic will teach the children the system fails ! Mock my words! Ho ha ha!

by The Jinxmedic on 8/23/2011 @ 11:45am
I gave up all hope in the US public education system when schools started criminalizing "school behavior" in the late 90's.

Watching a bright 12 year old get arrested in school for a minor disciplinary issue that would have been EASILY handled by the teacher, there is no excuse for this. Especially when I have seen similar actions destroy countless lives, and funnels students straight into our for-profit prison system. What chance is there for them? None. None at all. Nice work, PC world.

I say close down all of the K-8's, fire all the teachers and administrators, and ship our kids off to Germany or Japan to receive a real education.

by NineInchNachos on 8/23/2011 @ 11:46am
MEANWHILE conservatives are focusing in on the important topics...!/orbusmax/status/106069201...

(reference to... )

lets see that as an interest-based comment...

"I'm interested in Obama's statement acknowledging sex organs on children"

by Jesse on 8/23/2011 @ 11:51am
A drop-out will likely cost taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars in entitlement programs over their lifetime. I would rather see high schools filled with kids committed to graduation than the drop-out factories they are now.

Besides, you could divide the fine money amongst the kids from that school district who went off to trade school and universities and graduated. It would be a great way of making their education less costly and rewarding them for success.

by NineInchNachos on 8/23/2011 @ 11:52am
@Jinxmedic Armed police officers strolling the halls of learning sets the right mood for learning. I mean they didn't prevent that child from being murdered at Foss couple of years ago... but you can't be everywhere at once.

by The Jinxmedic on 8/23/2011 @ 12:02pm
Exactly. Close the schools, no more school violence. The logic is impeccable.

by NineInchNachos on 8/23/2011 @ 12:10pm
yeah OK Ron Paul

by The Jinxmedic on 8/23/2011 @ 12:23pm
No, it's "RON PAUL!!!1!!1!!!"

(You have to get it right, you know...)

by marumaruyopparai on 8/23/2011 @ 2:01pm
I say close down all of the K-8's, fire all the teachers and administrators, and ship our kids off to Germany or Japan to receive a real education.

First I laughed, but damn if that doesn't sound like a great idea. What percentage of youth in this country do you suppose get a decent multi-cultural education? Let alone the quality of our standard k-12. If we could afford it, it would be genious. Most foreign countries are so small compared with the U.S. borders are much less spread out making a bilingual and multi-cultural education a way of life and not just a part of regular schooling. Plus like jinx alludes most foreign countries like Japan, Germany are just killing us in quality of education and academic rigor.

Maybe if kids could see that there is more out there than the culture of stupidity and apathy that has been bred into the social landscape of the young (exascerbated by poor socio-economic circumstances) education would start to manifest more value in the minds of the young. Definitely not just a financial problem, also a cultural one.

As for the punishment thing, I kind of get it in schools where there is already a climate of violence, the classrooms themselves are under-funded and the teachers are getting paid peanuts. Knee jerk reactions to behavior problems can be expected from over stressed under paid teachers.

by cisserosmiley on 8/23/2011 @ 2:12pm
Outsource education to India, then the ones who speak english well can stay and answer phone...the ones who can't can come back to 'merica and work the drive thru in fredocity

by cisserosmiley on 8/23/2011 @ 2:14pm
And also, it's parents responsibility to educate their children if schools are failing!!!!!!!!!!!

by marumaruyopparai on 8/23/2011 @ 2:18pm
AND. . . for the discerning and intellectually inclined Mofo's out there concerned for the spiritual affliction and moral bankruptcy plaguing the young, perhaps a weekly theological seminary component is the solution to the problems of today's youth.

by marumaruyopparai on 8/23/2011 @ 2:27pm

Outsource education to India, then the ones who speak english well can stay and answer phone...the ones who can't can come back to 'merica and work the drive thru in fredocity.

This idea is probably best, outsourcing labor is a no brainer compared with improving education, education is expensive.

by The Jinxmedic on 8/23/2011 @ 2:29pm
See? Marumaruyopparai gets it. It would not only make our youth more competetive on the global market by gaining an understanding of a true "world" citizenry, but it would completely remove them from the US "youth violence" culture. (Note- my choice of host countries was deliberate. England, for example, would be worse.)

Then upon completion of their course of study (I really should have said "K-12", not "K-8"; our high schools are lost as well), if the individual student decided to stay in the host country to pursue a career, that could also be a win-win for us, as they would likely hold a more favorable view of the the US, and would therefore eventually benefit the current trade imbalance.

I am sure that Germany and Japan could take our education dollars and get a far better return for them than we currently do. (Besides, unlike here, the teaching profession itself is respected in both of those countries.)

by marumaruyopparai on 8/23/2011 @ 2:55pm
I am sure that Germany and Japan could take our education dollars and get a far better return for them than we currently do.

No doubt in my mind whatsoever.

by cisserosmiley on 8/23/2011 @ 3:02pm
the respect for teachers that is prominent in other countries often comes with low salaries. maybe we should reduce teacher pay in 'merica in an attempt to gain pestige for the teaching profession? if teachers got paid lower wages then parents would also have a justification for helping educate their children.

by marumaruyopparai on 8/23/2011 @ 3:19pm
The respect for teachers that is prominent in other countries often comes with low salaries. maybe we should reduce teacher pay in 'merica in an attempt to gain pestige for the teaching profession?

Nothing makes a teacher feel appreciated quite like a pay reduction.

by fredo on 8/23/2011 @ 3:38pm
"Nothing makes a teacher feel appreciated quite like a pay reduction."

Most teachers understand that the country is in a recession. Doubt if any of them would take it personally if pay rates were reduced proportionally. There's always the private sector for those unappreciated teachers who really want to make the big bucks, and who can't tolerate the thought of earning only 98% of what they used to earn.

by marumaruyopparai on 8/23/2011 @ 3:45pm
Most teachers understand that the country is in a recession. Doubt if any of them would take it personally if pay rates were reduced proportionally. There's always the private sector for those unappreciated teachers who really want to make the big bucks, and who can't tolerate the thought of earning only 98% of what they used to earn.

I feel the love, and it feels good.

by on 8/23/2011 @ 3:58pm
you guys are on fire. I am interested in your funny dialogs.

by NineInchNachos on 8/23/2011 @ 3:59pm
gad zooks! Jinx Medic sure loves his AXIS countries.

by fredo on 8/23/2011 @ 4:03pm
ha, i guess that did sound a little harsh

We can never really achieve a utopian society until we banish all opportunities to feel unappreciated. It is incumbant on the taxpayers to make sure that all offers of employment are accompanied with a generous offer of remuneration, such that it will exceed whatever the job applicant was expecting. Better to overpay these workers and create a false sense of appreciation than to even remotely suggest their efforts may go unappreciated.

by The Jinxmedic on 8/23/2011 @ 4:04pm
Can I help it that the two countries mentioned have excellent educational systems?

by NineInchNachos on 8/23/2011 @ 4:07pm
universal healthcare. just sayin. Right?

by The Jinxmedic on 8/23/2011 @ 4:31pm
You went there, but yes.

by jenyum on 8/23/2011 @ 4:48pm
First salvo from the TEA in several days: Teachers vs. Outside Negotiators

Incidentally, there's at least one teacher that I recognize on that team, and I'd trust her judgment any day of the week and twice on Sunday.

by jenyum on 8/23/2011 @ 4:50pm
...and a longer statement directed at Dr. Jarvis:

Message to Supt. Jarvis
In Contract News on August 23, 2011 at 3:24 pm
The Tacoma Education Association Bargaining Team sent this message to Tacoma Public Schools Supt. Art Jarvis on Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2011:

Dear Superintendent Jarvis,On behalf of the 2,400 educators represented by the Tacoma Education Association, we wish you well in your impending retirement. Thank you for your nearly 50 years of service to public education and our state’s children.In one of your final acts as superintendent of Tacoma Public Schools, you have a wonderful opportunity to work collaboratively with Tacoma’s educators on a contract that will set the tone in our schools for the next several years. The TEA Bargaining Team is eager to negotiate a new contract before the scheduled start of school on Sept. 1. That has been our goal since last spring. We are committed to negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement that is innovative and progressive, one that focuses on our students’ futures.
In that context, we respectfully ask you to direct your administration bargaining team to pick up the pace of negotiations. We hope to have a tentative agreement in time for TEA members to review at our Aug. 29 general membership meeting at Mount Tahoma High School. If not, TEA members will meet again Aug. 31 to decide our next steps.

Prolonging negotiations beyond that date is unnecessary and costly. As superintendent, you’ve already chosen to spend more than $30,000 on outside negotiators. Every additional hour increases the cost to taxpayers by $195, which reportedly is the hourly rate your outside negotiator charges the district. That means every additional 10-hour day of negotiations is costing Tacoma Public Schools nearly $2,000 in outside fees, not to mention the salaries of district administrators who also serve on your bargaining team. Between Aug. 15 and Aug. 22, for example, we negotiated 66 hours. That’s almost $13,000 in outside fees that could be better spent on student learning.

In contrast, we are volunteers. We are missing out on paid professional development opportunities and time to plan for the students we expect soon in our own classrooms.

Despite your administration’s previous lack of urgency around contract negotiations, it remains our expectation that we can negotiate a new contract prior to the start of school. Yet with your approval and support, your administration bargainers have proposed increasing class sizes, cutting teacher pay and implementing subjective staffing policies, none of which will benefit our students or improve learning.

Our community already is grappling with your decision to close Wainwright and McKinley elementaries and the harm and hurt that decision has caused staff, students and their families. At a time the Tacoma School District has a substantial 14 percent budget surplus, causing additional unnecessary disruption and divisiveness in our schools is ill-advised.

Soon, Tacoma Public Schools will have a new superintendent and two new school board members. During this time of transition and new leadership, it will be crucial to maintain, if not improve, relations between Tacoma’s front-line educators and central office administrators.

We, along with your successor and the members of the Tacoma School Board, will have to operate under the terms of this agreement. It will influence every aspect of our working conditions. And as you know from your years as an educator, educators’ working conditions are our students’ learning conditions.

We encourage you to seize this opportunity for leadership. Please direct your administration bargaining team to negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement that is good for students, staff and our community and to do it in time for TEA members to review on Aug. 29.


TEA Certificated Bargaining Team volunteers:
Angel Morton – Grant Elementary
Debbie Sterbick – Washington Hoyt Elementary
John Solberg – First Creek Middle School
Patricia Albert – First Creek Middle School
Bob Aline – Lincoln High School
Sara Erickson – Stadium High School
Ann McPartlon – Gray Middle School (Title I)
Veronica Munyan – Mason Middle School (SpEd)

by fredo on 8/23/2011 @ 5:03pm
"And as you know from your years as an educator, educators’ working conditions are our students’ learning conditions."

In other words, lavish lots of dough on the teachers and it will trickle down to the students. Ha, these people really know how to spread the BS.

by marumaruyopparai on 8/23/2011 @ 5:24pm
We can never really achieve a utopian society until we banish all opportunities to feel unappreciated. It is incumbant on the taxpayers to make sure that all offers of employment are accompanied with a generous offer of remuneration, such that it will exceed whatever the job applicant was expecting. Better to overpay these workers and create a false sense of appreciation than to even remotely suggest their efforts may go unappreciated.

Fredo is right, money does not grow on trees. What we ought to do is leave educating the children up to volunteers. This would get us a step closer to Fredo's Utopian vision of a society devoid of 'unappreciative feelings', because after all, who appreciates their work more than someone willing to do it for free? This would put more pressure on parents to appreciate education too, because let's be honest, hasn't this charade of unaffordable public education gone on long enough? Let parents educate their own damn kids if they appreciate education so much. Isn't anything worth doing worth being done for free?

by marumaruyopparai on 8/23/2011 @ 5:32pm
Gettin' hungry now, might go make myself a big ol' appreciation sandwich to satisfy my hunger. Then I'm gonna go down the street to the ATM (Appreciate Teller Machine) and withdraw me a big stack of appreciation and head down to the store and buy myself some goods and services with it.

by fredo on 8/23/2011 @ 5:35pm
Maybe we could each teach one semester as our contribution, which would be appreciated of course.

I volunteer to conduct a course entitled:

RR Anderson: Omnipotent observer or Eccentric Entity?

by jenyum on 8/23/2011 @ 5:39pm
If we tell you how much we appreciate you, Fredo, can we come to your business and get free rentals? If you really love what you do I think you should be willing to share.

by marumaruyopparai on 8/23/2011 @ 5:45pm
Fredo, I think you should teach an economics course titled "The Appreciation Based Market: A study of appreciative feelings as an inflation free currency."

I appreciate you Fredo. What kind of rate of return might I expect to receive for my appreciation of all things Fredo if I move to Fredo City? If it's competitive compensation I'm willing to appreciate you a whole lot, and perhaps move there.

I appreciate this Tacomic too, can I have it?

by fredo on 8/23/2011 @ 5:45pm
ha, it wasn't my idea that teaching should be done by volunteers. that was Maru's. Look at his posting of 5:24

I offered to do my share.

If people want the products I offer and they are having a hard time economically, I will definitely work with them on pricing. I believe in shared sacrifice. How about the teachers? We should all adjust our prices down when the occasion demands.

by fredo on 8/23/2011 @ 5:47pm
The Appreciation Market: A study of appreciative feelings as an inflation free currency."

Maru, that's a stunning posting. I'm sure there is an economics best seller there. Keep it up!

by NineInchNachos on 8/23/2011 @ 7:39pm
We should not be pulling other working class people down to our shared sacrifice level. Aim higher I say. Why do you think god invented a super wealthy class?

by NineInchNachos on 8/23/2011 @ 7:44pm
doesn't anyone know the fable of the lobster in a bucket?

by marumaruyopparai on 8/23/2011 @ 8:03pm
We should not be pulling other working class people down to our shared sacrifice level. Aim higher I say. Why do you think god invented a super wealthy class?

The mighty Job Creators are not targets Mr. Anderson as your comment would suggest, they are to be revered from our humble station here amongst the rest of the teeming throngs of the common class. We must accept our humble station and scrape by as best we can as we wait for these mighty Job Creators to cast off the shackles of Obama's oppressive socialist economy and rescue us from this financially devastated hellscape.

Save us job creators! You're our only hope!

by fredo on 8/23/2011 @ 8:03pm

Why do you think god invented a super wealthy class?

To unemployed people, teachers look like the super wealthy class.

by fredo on 8/24/2011 @ 7:51am
One of my customers is a teacher. He teaches piano lessons. He recently reduced the price of his piano lessons. He was able to do so without acquiring a bad attitude regarding either his students or the financially struggling parents of his students.

I'm sure he would like to make more money but he understands the economy and he seems to have made the decision without compromising his feelings of self-esteem (i.e. "the appreciation feelings"). Yes, he still has to make payments on his college loan and a house payment but he doesn't hold society or his students responsible for those debts.

I know its just an anecdotal example, but please think about it.

by NineInchNachos on 8/24/2011 @ 8:08am
piano teacher is a for-profit enterprise, no?

by fredo on 8/24/2011 @ 8:17am
I believe his objective is to earn enough to support himself just as a public school teachers objective is to earn enough to support himself/herself.

I was trying to illustrate the fact that an educator can lower his paycheck without bruising his ego.

The teachers have been paying into their union for years with a sort of unwritten guarantee that it would always deliver more and more pay and benefits. Now we've hit the ceiling and the union can no longer deliver this. I can understand why the organized teachers are unhappy but the truly knowledgeable teachers knew that there were limits to what the union could achieve. Too bad they can't have their money back. By decertifying their union they could keep all those dues for themselves.

Think about it.

by Rick Jones on 8/24/2011 @ 8:59am
Check these out:

by Rick Jones on 8/24/2011 @ 9:03am
And, if you have time, listen to this:

by NineInchNachos on 8/24/2011 @ 9:04am
Is there a students' union?

by jenyum on 8/24/2011 @ 12:21pm
This is a negotiation and I understand that you want to start from a position of strength. Maybe they are overdoing it a little? I hope they are willing to work their way down to closer to reality.

Teachers union wants:
1) not only not to take the 1.9% pay cut from the state's reduced funding for salaries, but a salary *increase*
2) not only not larger classrooms, but smaller classrooms than we currently have
3) the district to use their reserve fund to pay for this $5.8 million budget increase

by NineInchNachos on 8/24/2011 @ 12:47pm
i love it. Why not a Space Shuttle as well?

by NineInchNachos on 8/24/2011 @ 1:10pm
I'm interested in pointing out that Jarvis is really a nincompoop. I'm interested in knowing how can it be 11th hour demands if they just started talking about the important stuff thanks to interest-based negotiation tactics ?

by cisserosmiley on 8/24/2011 @ 1:30pm
for that kind of money teachers could also work-share city manager duties

by fredo on 8/24/2011 @ 1:38pm
The Democratic governor told them they were getting a 1.9% decrease and that was like 3 or 4 months ago. I thought teachers were good listeners. What part of pay decrease don't they understand?

by NineInchNachos on 8/24/2011 @ 1:43pm
TEA party union infiltrators!

also komo link

by NineInchNachos on 8/24/2011 @ 4:50pm

"They are trying to portray us as greedy," said Andy Coons, president of the Tacoma Education Association. He acknowledged that the union did ask for a 1-percent pay increase – but he said that was after the school district asked teachers to take a 1.9-percent pay cut.

Read more:

by fredo on 8/24/2011 @ 5:37pm
"They are trying to portray us as greedy," Coons

I'd call that an accurate portrayal.

by NineInchNachos on 8/24/2011 @ 7:50pm
this is GREAT!

by jenyum on 8/24/2011 @ 7:55pm
If by "great" you mean aligned with your interests in your general role as an agent of chaos.

by NineInchNachos on 8/24/2011 @ 8:21pm
wild rumpus

by fredo on 8/24/2011 @ 8:42pm
where's Mr. Fiddlestix when you need him?

by NineInchNachos on 8/24/2011 @ 9:36pm
fiddlesticks is another story simile (see pierce county detective vs. lindquist fiasco)

update! from tnt:

But teachers want to be paid, he said, and the district should pay enough to 'attract good teachers and keep them.' He said too many of the district's proposed cutbacks are aimed at individual schools and teachers instead of at the school system as a whole.
Coons said the school district is 'sitting on a $45 million surplus.' The union wants the district to use some of its surplus funds to offset a loss in state funding for teacher salaries.

Read more:

by jenyum on 8/25/2011 @ 8:12am
TNT editorial this morning:

Does everyone involved – including the state union leaders advising the TEA – realize what the stakes are? Tacomans haven’t seen their school system paralyzed by a strike in decades. Only a fool would want to find out how they’d react to one in today’s economic distress.

Read more:

by fredo on 8/25/2011 @ 8:40am
If they strike I think it will be foolish. I don't sense the public support for the union position. Other workers in both the public and private sectors have seen paychecks diminish and there's no inherent unfairness in expecting the school teachers to get in line. Even the Democratic leader, Governor Gregoire has instructed the teachers to take a 1.9% pay cut. Time for TEA to put it's big boy pants on.

by NineInchNachos on 8/25/2011 @ 8:42am
I try to post link to my cartoon on those tnt comments but looks like i've been black listed by the TNT nazis.

by Mofo from the Hood on 8/25/2011 @ 8:46am
Let's not forget that public schools provide so much more than day-care service and exposure to disturbed gang member types. Public schools also keep potential rivals from competing in the job market.

Support Public Education and Experience Rainbow Diversity and All The Wonderfulness that makes this One Nation Under God great!

by NineInchNachos on 8/25/2011 @ 9:36am
vote RR as a write-in for Tacoma School Bored! I pledge to do what I can to erase "in go we trust" from US coinage!

by The Jinxmedic on 8/25/2011 @ 10:32am
I'm voting for the "monarchist" candidate, whoever that might be.

by Rick Jones on 8/25/2011 @ 11:06am
RR - I kind of like "In Go We Trust."

by NineInchNachos on 8/25/2011 @ 2:00pm
** tacomic fan exclusive **

from my inbox:

+ + +

Hey RR,

I checked into it and your comment was in unapproved because it had been flagged by several readers for possible abusiveness. We’ve approved it and it should reappear.

Our comments on the main website are run by a vendor –Disqus – and the admin system is a blunt instrument. (Sometimes, it will filter a legit comment with a link as spam, for instance.) We have an overworked employee who checks the bin a few times a day to approve or delete pending comments. We end up approving most of those in the pending folder. If a troll is really out of line repeatedly, we’ll blacklist them. But we give broad latitude to robust discussion. We have no problem with your work – in fact, many of us find your stuff spot on, even if it’s not always appropriate for our readers.

I’m telling you this because I’m hoping next time you’ll come directly to me if something is happening with your comments rather than jump to conclusions. If we do ever squash one, I will explain why.


+ + +

by cisserosmiley on 8/25/2011 @ 2:25pm
Sounds like pr damage control...I threatened to stop looking at the front page as I walk by the unbought stack of californiatacoma news tribune papers and just hours later their web comments are fair???

by NineInchNachos on 8/25/2011 @ 2:54pm

by jenyum on 8/25/2011 @ 6:42pm
School board meeting in progress, live on Tacoma Public Schools Channel (25 Click!, 26 Comcast) Line of 300 people outside signed up to speak (board is calling a random selection) can hear chanting from megaphone outside.

Tweeting it somewhat haphazardly @tacomamama.

by fredo on 8/25/2011 @ 7:10pm

by fredo on 8/25/2011 @ 7:12pm

by fredo on 8/25/2011 @ 7:13pm

by jenyum on 8/25/2011 @ 7:24pm
Oh geez, Fredo. You have to walk in to that school in a week. Take it down a notch.

by fredo on 8/25/2011 @ 7:31pm
you said there was megaphone chanting. I'm just making up some chants.

by jenyum on 8/26/2011 @ 9:51am
Some hard numbers behind the issues:

by Rick Jones on 8/26/2011 @ 10:09am
jenyum - thanks for all the research. Very informative and saves me a lot of time. I'm in favor of the pay cut and allowing more independence regarding curriculum. As to the increase in class size? How can you close schools and not increase class size? I'm, surprisingly, more on management's side on this one than the rank and file.

Although I do have this question: Why are teachers no more than 50% of our school district employees?

by cisserosmiley on 8/26/2011 @ 10:18am
seemed like when i was a kid there was a load of teachers and a few other employees like janitor, lunch lady, the ratio today different than in the 70's or 80's?

by fredo on 8/26/2011 @ 10:20am
good points Rick. and good link Jennifer.

In all the debate regarding teacher pay and class size, I wonder if people appreciate the relationship that these two issues have to each other.

Given a fixed amount of money we can either have higher teacher pay but with higher class sizes and fewer teachers, or we can have lower class sizes by hiring more teachers at lower pay rates. The same amount of money is not going to achieve higher pay rates and lower class sizes. That is counter intuitive. It's actually worse than counter intuitive, it's delusional.

by jenyum on 8/26/2011 @ 10:20am
I don't know the exact break down, but there are an awful lot of para-educators, specialists (speech, etc) and building staff, as well as central admin. Nearly every classroom in our school has a para that is there for at least some portion of the day/week, usually as part of a particular student's IEP.

...and yes, this would be different from the 70s/early 80s because of changes in special education law. The IDEA was passed in 1990, and I think it has always been an unfunded mandate.

by fredo on 8/26/2011 @ 10:27am
jennifer is exactly right. and a lot of the extra staff is directly attribuable to federal guidelines which were all designed with good intent. but in many cases they blow big holes in the budget with little or no public or private benefit. Some of these mandates go under the acronym NCLB. We throw boatloads of money at problems and if progress isn't made then we throw even more.

by jenyum on 8/26/2011 @ 10:30am
NCLB is an abomination. Whenever anyone talks to you about "accountability" etc, always look behind the curtain to what they are really saying -- does it involve more standardized tests? Then no, no, a thousand times, no.

by jenyum on 8/26/2011 @ 10:37am
...speaking of test scores, both the district and the union should have a real sense of urgency about putting this behind them before scores come out on the 30th. It doesn't even matter if the trend is up, because of the way "adequate yearly progress" is structured, more schools "fail" every year and that's all the news ever seems to latch on to.

by Rick Jones on 8/26/2011 @ 10:51am
Okay, so how do we find a way to truly judge teaching competence? If this was market-oriented it would simply be who do the customers (parents/students) want?. Give this authority back to the parents, the students and principles. A principle who know he/she has a bad teacher cannot do anything about it. If it was an employee in my office, I could let them go. But because of the complexities within the contract, that teacher can stay. We don't necessarily need test scores. It's just a large-scale way of dispersing accountability. Parents/students/principles know who the good teachers are.

by Erik on 8/26/2011 @ 11:41am
Kudos on the post jenyum. Very informative.

by NineInchNachos on 8/26/2011 @ 9:58pm
tacoma weekly

weekly volcano (with pic)

by jenyum on 8/27/2011 @ 10:49am
A sign that some progress may happen soon:

"Members of the Tacoma Principals Association have voted to reduce their compensation by 1.39 percent for the upcoming school year to absorb cuts made to their compensation by the state Legislature earlier this year, TPA president Dan Tharp announced today.

In addition, top administrators in Tacoma Public Schools – Superintendent Art Jarvis and members of his executive leadership team – also will have their compensation reduced by 1.39 percent for the 2011-2012 school year as prescribed by the Legislature, Jarvis announced.

In both cases, the cuts will come from each employee’s personal professional development account.",...

by fredo on 8/27/2011 @ 1:45pm
You're giving us lots more information than the TNT, Jen. Thanks for all you do. Hope the parties can get a settlement hammered out and the kids can go back to school on time.

by jenyum on 8/28/2011 @ 9:47am

"Supt. Jarvis issued a silly press release today highlighting how administrators are taking a 1.3 percent cut in their professional development funding, even though the state cut funding for administrative salaries by 3 percent. Jarvis makes $240,000 a year, or about four times what the average teacher earns.

Principals agreed to this deal back in July, yet Jarvis waited until today to issue a press release about it. Why is that?

No contract negotiations are planned for Sunday, and the adminisration’s negotiator reportedly isn’t available Monday. Hmmm."


If true, that means there will be no additional bargaining before teachers meet tomorrow night to hear a bargaining update (...and possibly vote on a strike)

by fredo on 8/28/2011 @ 12:14pm
Teachers union trying to obfuscate the issues. What the superintendent and other administrators make is irrelevant. Teachers have the opportunity to go into administrative work if that is a field that interests them.

by fredo on 8/28/2011 @ 2:09pm
jen, you said Dr. Jarvis' press release was silly, but you didn't say what was silly about it.

and regarding his paycheck. are you saying that superintendants should earn the same as teachers, or what are you saying? is there a problem that the top administrator would earn more than a rank and file union member?

by jenyum on 8/28/2011 @ 5:47pm
Hi Fredo,

I didn't say any of that. It's in quotes because it came from a union statement, which I am just now realizing I didn't link to. (Meant to) The only thing that is mine is the paragraph at the end, wondering what will happen if there's no bargaining tomorrow.

by fredo on 8/28/2011 @ 6:42pm
yes, i saw the quotation marks but I didn't see an attribution. Thanks for clearing that up. I'm wondering what will happen too. The district has made an offer I believe, so the union members just need to OK it.

by NineInchNachos on 8/29/2011 @ 8:59am
tacoma standoff

by jenyum on 8/29/2011 @ 2:29pm
No contract negotiations today. :(

by NineInchNachos on 8/29/2011 @ 2:55pm
strike strike strike!

by jenyum on 8/29/2011 @ 3:28pm
Take an anonymous poll:

by NineInchNachos on 8/30/2011 @ 9:36am

I love Rick Steves

by Rick Jones on 8/30/2011 @ 11:01am
Thanks for the poll link jenyum. I was surprised the teachers had as much support as the 'inappropriate' vote.

by NineInchNachos on 8/30/2011 @ 11:13am
interesting Live tweet analysis of Tacoma Schools happening now via Tacoma Mama...!/tacomamama

of this..

by jenyum on 8/31/2011 @ 2:21pm
Down to the wire! I was not feeling very optimistic after the union's school budget forum last night, about the possibility of averting a strike. Negotiations keep going though, and they do need a super-majority (someone said 80% actually, but I haven't fact-checked that) to authorize a strike.

Just about an hour ago the district released a statement on the negotiations: (contains some nitty gritty details we haven't heard yet)

by NineInchNachos on 8/31/2011 @ 2:52pm

word on the pre-school circuit grape-vine is things were looking bad. Maybe this update will change things?

by jenyum on 8/31/2011 @ 5:25pm
Things should be looking better, but from what I hear maybe they aren't. Still don't know. Gah! I'm getting my updates from Kevin McCarty at KIRO who is there right now:

"Teachers union president tells members they have to give up money for smaller classes. They have to decide by midnight. More at 5:30"

You are kidding me, Kevin McCarty. Midnight?!/KevinKIRO

by jenyum on 8/31/2011 @ 5:38pm
Just got off the phone with a school employee who says she got a message from the district saying she should assume there will not be school tomorrow unless we hear differently on the news. This is second hand, as soon as I can confirm it I'll let you know.

by NineInchNachos on 8/31/2011 @ 5:54pm
strike strike strike!

by jenyum on 8/31/2011 @ 6:02pm
Talked to a friend who said the call actually said to report as usual unless they hear otherwise. That makes more sense.

by jenyum on 8/31/2011 @ 6:09pm
Voting may start at 6:15.

by jenyum on 8/31/2011 @ 7:07pm
Tallying votes. Biting fingernails.

by NineInchNachos on 8/31/2011 @ 7:41pm
no strike!

by cisserosmiley on 9/1/2011 @ 8:19am
great! now i can go to the park without being attacked by schoolchildren!

by jenyum on 9/1/2011 @ 9:33am
Testing if I can comment here today.

Guess I can! Sorry about dropping off the face of the earth with the updates, for some reason my replies were get vaporized last night.

by NineInchNachos on 9/5/2011 @ 8:19pm
tacoma weekly:

teachers voted to strike, but because they didn't have enough members in the room it defaulted to NO STRIKE. Next Union meeting on the 12th... maybe they'll get more members this time!

by fredo on 9/5/2011 @ 8:34pm
or maybe they will sober up and take the deal that's offered.

by JesseHillFan on 9/5/2011 @ 9:32pm
Here is an interesting video.College Conspiracy

by fredo on 9/6/2011 @ 8:16am
JHF@ that's a good youtube. thanks for the link.

by NineInchNachos on 9/9/2011 @ 4:04pm

by jenyum on 9/9/2011 @ 7:46pm
Update, with "subjective and flawed" displacement criteria.

by fredo on 9/11/2011 @ 8:36am
The older teachers think that the classrooms they have are their own personal classrooms. In a sense they are kind of like crabs which have discovered a shell they feel comfortable in. In fact, the teachers are like hired guns which the district should place where they would be most effective. Of course, some teachers are probably ineffective in any environment and the union contract makes it very hard to dismiss them. IMO

by jenyum on 9/11/2011 @ 5:46pm
The District has published an informative side by side comparison of bargaining positions.

The union is characterizing the displacement proposal (on their facebook page) as: "the 'flexibility' to discriminate against teachers based on age, race and gender."

by NineInchNachos on 9/11/2011 @ 8:06pm
strike strike strike!

by jenyum on 9/12/2011 @ 9:45am
I will be very surprised if there is not a strike tomorrow. A big win for Puyallup Fair vendors.

by NineInchNachos on 9/12/2011 @ 2:10pm
stinking jocks. grr.!/DougPaceyTNT/status/11334...

by fredo on 9/12/2011 @ 2:15pm
jen, I liked your posting. I have the feeling that the WEA and Coons are pushing hard for a strike so I think you're right. Puyallup Fair is going to go nuts if this happens.

by fredo on 9/12/2011 @ 6:47pm
Jennifer called it...and she was correct.

Teachers are striking tomorrow September 13. Hey, that's my birthday...that's not very nice!

Well, the kids are partying now like it's 1999.

by NineInchNachos on 9/12/2011 @ 6:52pm

Thieves leave classrooms helpless against heat

by fredo on 9/12/2011 @ 7:04pm
I know three out of work school teachers who would probably be interested in working as replacements. Will the district start interviewing folks so we can get the schools open again?

by jenyum on 9/12/2011 @ 10:22pm
Where to get free lunches/childcare during the strike:

by NineInchNachos on 9/12/2011 @ 10:26pm
you mean... ?

by JesseHillFan on 9/12/2011 @ 10:43pm
Here is another alternative

by jenyum on 9/12/2011 @ 10:53pm
Way to empathize with people, JHF.

by NineInchNachos on 3/13/2012 @ 4:40pm
I was using robot metaphors before it was cool.