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Friday, September 17, 2010

Shoreline School District Calls Out SESPA Union's Possible Job Action in Letter to Parents.

The Shoreline School District has sent a letter to parents warning them of possible upcoming job actions by the SESPA Union.

The Union has been in negotiations for several months and held an informational demonstration last month to emphasize the situation their members find themselves in.  The Shoreline School District is threatening to cut the hours of these workers and reduce benefits. Meanwhile, administrators in the District have been given substantial raises by the School Board. Supt Walker was given an $8,000 raise and Dep Marcia Harris received a $10,000 raise.

SESPA stands for Shoreline Education Support Professionals Association and is an affiliate of WEA (Washington Education Association). They are the workers who provide
many services to students and the community at their jobs with the district such as Nurses, Crossing Guards, School Secretaries, etc.

The District is claiming that SESPA is planning a "sick out" next week, possibly on Wednesday.
The SESPA Blog does not have any statement as yet about a possible job action being planned.

Of Paramount Importance supports the SESPA Union in fighting for their members labor rights
and wish them luck and solidarity.

SESPA workers held a demonstration last month at SSD Headquarters


September 15, 2010 

TO:  Shoreline Parents/Guardians, Community and Staff 
FR:   Shoreline Public Information Office 
RE:   Potential School Cancellation 

As you may know, the District is currently engaged in the collective bargaining process with the 
Shoreline Educational Support Personnel Association (SESPA).  This association represents over 300 
staff members, including nurses, security monitors, 
paraeducators (1-1 student aides), crossing guards, 
mobility assistants, office staff and more.  Since August 2010 this 
process has been facilitated by a 
professional mediator provided by Public Employment 
Relations Commission (PERC).  The next 
mediation session is scheduled for September 30, 2010.   

It has recently come to the District’s attention that 
SESPA leadership is planning a possible district- 
wide ‘sick-out’ or other job action for Wednesday, 
September 29, or perhaps another date.  Although a 
job action brings up a number of issues for the district, 
our most serious concern is that of student 

We value the contribution of all SESPA employees 
to the educational environment of our schools.  
Several positions are more difficult to fill with substitutes. 
For example, one of the biggest challenges 
we face in Shoreline is that of substitute nurse coverage. 
Unlike other school districts around us that 
rely on “magnet” health sites where specialized 
care is provided, Shoreline has a nurse at all schools 
during all student hours.  This allows most Shoreline students 
with serious health related issues to 
attend their neighborhood school. Unfortunately, our 
model makes it very difficult to cover the absence 
of all our nurses.  We most likely will not be able to 
provide 14 nurse substitutes on the same day.   

Another serious concern for Shoreline is the support 
for our special needs students who require 1-1 
adult support for health and safety reasons.  Again, 
our ability to obtain qualified substitutes for an 
excessive number of absences is a significant challenge.   

As a result of our concerns, we feel that there 
is a possibility that Shoreline would have to cancel 
school if we determine that we cannot adequately 
address the supervision, health and safety needs of 
all our students.  We hope that by providing you with 
this advance notice, we will be able to minimize 
the inconvenience you will experience IF the District 
finds it necessary to cancel school. IF school is 
cancelled, the student day will be made-up later 
in the calendar.  

We apologize for any difficulty that this schedule 
change may cause your family. We will keep you 
updated with information and District decisions 
related to this issue on our website:  


  1. Is this legal under fair bargaining, someone should check with the National Labor Relations Board about the mailing of this letter to the parents.

  2. You should take a look at the recent school district budget transfers - they just took out of their capital trust accounts (funds from previous real estate transactions) funds for the operating budget. This is after all the administrative raises and the reserves they have just banked.

  3. Fascinating, and thanks for the tip!. We obviously need an accountant to look at this. It is exactly what cost Jim Welsh his job in the last round.

    Who is watching this cookie jar?

  4. Maybe the District admin just enjoys being in the limelight, or perhaps playing news flash reporters, at any cost to anyone.

    This reminds me of when they emailed a news flash, under the guise of "safety" for all children, stating that parents should be aware that some high school students were near the Acacia Cemetery area while at the same time a person had committed suicide in Acacia. Why did I need know that for the safety of my child? What it did do is remind me that times are very tough for some poor souls, and it made me sad.

    Thanks, Sue Walker,but if you really want to be helpful, you can make sure that the school counselors are ready to assist and then, of course make sure you don't take their pay away-to pay for your poorly timed raise, while you write news that should be left for the News at 11 crew to report.