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Teachers ratify contract

"The members of the North Kitsap Educational Association have voted 198-0 on Sept. 5 to ratify their contract with the school district. The North Kitsap School Board matched their solidarity with a unanimous approval vote of their own at Wednesday night's board meeting. Two unanimous votes for approval, that's a once in a lifetime experience, said Denise Zaske, the district's director of human resources. In contrast to districts where an adversarial relationship has emerged between teacher's unions and school boards, North Kitsap board and union members described their relationship in terms of mutual respect and trust. We feel validated as people who are doing a good job, NKEA president Patti Grenquist commented. A smiling Dick Endresen, president of the board, added It's all about working together for kids, the utmost respect goes with that. That trust relationship was tested at the beginning of the school year when fewer students than expected enrolled at Suquamish Elementary. The school's staff worked with the district to adjust for the smaller enrollment by adjusting staffing and reducing their planning time in order to keep a new teacher on the staff. Their were tears in the hall when we made that one work, Grenquist commented. Trust is a whole new way of looking at things together - it's amazing what a difference in attitude can achieve for students. "

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