A Part of the Red Sea– Oct. 14 BOE Recap

NEA-SMSD members packed the room during the Oct. 14 Board of Education in support of pay raises and smaller class sizes for SMSD educators

Ethan Schreiber, Staff Writer

Walking into the board meeting room of the Central for Academic Achievement last night, community members were met with over 100 educators wearing red, filling the seats and lining the walls of the room.

Opening the meeting, the Nieman Elementary School student council members led the room in the Pledge of Allegiance. The board followed the pledge with a video of Don Wilson, former Interim Superintendent, sharing a memory of a SMSD teacher as part of the district’s 50th year celebration.

The Oct. 14 agenda included topics such as vaping, Jump Start to Learning, District Committees and the Districts strategic plan. However, the night was primarily defined by the abundance of educators and members of the community who came in support of NEA-Shawnee Mission.

This summer, the district declared an impasse after failing to come to terms with the NEA about teacher pay contracts for this year. Public comments last night consisted of community members, students and educators addressing issues of reducing class sizes, reducing the number of classes taught by secondary teachers and compensation for teachers.

Up until the time for public comments, many teachers sat in their chairs grading their first grade math worksheets and their eighth grade English papers.

Starting the comments, a grandfather of three SMSD students, spoke out regarding class sizes and the extra attention his first grade granddaughter with special needs requires. Attention she is not receiving with the current size of her elementary class.

Following him, a fourth grade student, three educators and one member of the community commented on class sizes and the remaining issues that the NEA stated in their proposed contract for the 2019-2020 school year.

Both comments on unassociated issues yielded their time in support of teachers.

Following the public comments, the board was presented with an update on the district’s Strategic Plan from Superintendent Dr. Mike Fulton, slideshows over the effect of Jump Start to Learning on early childhood education and an informational slideshow over the student vaping epidemic.

The next Board of Education meeting will be on Oct. 29.