BRUCE and PHYLLIS ALLEN, Benton City
As retired Kiona-Benton teachers, we are saddened by the state of the district. Since the arrival of the current superintendent, employee morale has plummeted and district funds are being wasted on legal expenses.
According to the Washington Education Association Southeast Uniserv Council, 40-45 grievances have been filed with five going to arbitration during the last 18 months. Our district has about 175 employees. Compare this with about four grievances, no arbitrations and no unfair labor practices among the approximately 7,500 employees of the Pasco, Richland and Kennewick districts. An unfair-labor practice a year ago cost the district $150,000. During the past 2 years, more than $350,000 of levy money has been spent on legal fees and settlements.
According to state allocations, our district is five administrators overstaffed. This costs the district more than $500,000.
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The superintendent has negotiated an 8 percent salary raise to earn about $140,000. This salary for a district of less than 1,500 students is more than the Kennewick superintendent makes for around 15,000 students.
We urge residents of the Kiona-Benton School District to hold the superintendent and school board accountable for the use of your tax money and the abuse of the staff.