PORT ORCHARD — The South Kitsap School Board on Wednesday night authorized Superintendent Michelle Reid to seek a court injunction to force teachers back to work if they strike over class sizes next week. The board also authorized her to hire temporary and substitute teachers in the event of a strike.
Ear;lier, Wednesday, dozens of teachers marched along the street near South Kitsap High School in protest. Each teacher held up a sign with a number revealing their class size in hope of getting the community fired up.
Take, for example, South Kitsap High School: This year the average class is projected to have 35 students. At least four classes are even expected to have 40 or more kids.
The teacher’s union wants the district to restore at least 30 teaching jobs from the 57 positions that were cut in May.
“We are convinced we will settle before school starts; we are confident we can do that,” said Superintendent Michelle Reid.
“This class size issue didn’t happen overnight, it’s been building and parents realize their kids only get one chance at each grade level and we have high school kids that have been in big classes since 2nd grade,” said South Kitsap Education Association spokeswoman Judy Arbogast.
The district and the teachers’ union are at major odds over the budget. If there is no agreement by Saturday, teachers will go on strike on the first day of school — something that has never happened in South Kitsap in recent history.