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South Kitsap teachers approve contract as class sizes come down

southkitsapPORT ORCHARD, Wash. — Despite weeks of grandstanding and proclamations from both sides, South Kitsap Education Association’s members voted to ratify a three-year contract with the South Kitsap School District, sending kids back into the classroom on Wednesday.

Ninety-six percent of the association’s 407 teachers and workers voted to ratify the contract Tuesday morning at South Kitsap High School.

Just last week, SKEA voted to go on strike largely regarding issues of class size, which teachers said was approaching 40 students per class.

According Judy Arbogast of the Washington Education Association, the new contract guarantees class sizes will be reduced by three students per secondary academic class throughout the school year. Also, the amount of split level classes where students from two different grades are placed in one classroom will be reduced during the next three years. Elementary school class sizes will be lowered by one student in the 2014-2015 school year.

SKEA President John Richardson said members of the education association were excited to see a commitment to lowering class sizes in an effort to improve education. Now, he said, teachers and students can focus on the year ahead.

“We are pleased to be getting back into our classrooms and excited to see our students tomorrow,” Richardson said.

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