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In this Issue:
Sandy's Letter: Summer Bargaining, HPS Budget Timeline, More Counselors On the Way
Dual Language Advocacy
Contract Corner: Equitable Substitute Coverage

May 21, 2021

Dear Supporter,

When we fight, we win. This is the message we need to take into the coming weeks as ESSER funds and additional grants are released to Highline.  While many of us are focused on a June 16th school end date, bargainers are preparing for our June 17th start date.  Watch for input opportunities in June which will require a quick turn-around.  With the district’s proposed budget being presented to the school board on June 23, please be prepared to organize in support of funding requests that help our students thrive and not just survive. 

On Tuesday, HSD announced it will spend $1 million to hire additional counselors for the coming year.  While they had promised not to reduce the number of counselors, students at some elementary schools would have experienced "neutral staffing levels" as a cut, given several counselors were asked to start covering two schools as other schools gained counselor staffing due to enrollment shifts. In addition, some principals were forced to choose between a full-time counselor or a full-time assistant principal. The additional counselor staffing allocation through ESSER funds will ensure that all elementary schools have at least one full-time counselor, and it increases counselor staffing at some secondary schools as well.  

While parents’ surveys identified that their children need more mental health services, HEA members and leadership have been strong and vocal advocates in recent weeks for increased counselor staffing, and it has proven successful! We appreciate all who have spoken up about the increased need to strengthen social-emotional and mental health supports as we return to full-time in-person school next year.  

If you have a chance, please share your appreciation with counselors Laura Weist, Kristina Grundmanis, Owen Sallee and HEA Rep Joe Weiss who prepared statements for the board, as well as Maile Valu, Susan Roden, and our amazing HEA Counselor Reps Christine Hagerty (who also spoke), Anamarleny Alvarez-Villa, and Katie Carper.  These leaders have been supporting our organizing behind the scenes.  I would also like to extend members’ appreciation to Shorewood parent Gail Wick for presenting her statement.  I offer a final thanks to the many others who continue to display passion for student wellness through time and energy put into educating our district and community on the value in funding robust counseling services and the need for a comprehensive counseling program, not only now, but in the years ahead.

In solidarity,



Growing Dual Language.  Economic, demographic, and district boundary changes have shrunk Madrona Elementary School by almost half over the past 5-6 years. Madrona educators used the school board meeting to propose creative, on-point opportunities for ALL interested Highline students to experience a dual language education regardless of their service area.  Thank you Executive Board Member Sandra Aguila, and Madrona teachers Rosa Sanchez, Megan Steindorf, Alexandria Skagen, and Amelia Swinton for sharing these ideas.  In addition, HEA Reps Isel Betancourt Sanchez and Michael Hecklinger and many other Madrona staff “packed the board room” both in person (and virtually) and helped co-author the message that was shared...and a special call out to their principal who showed up in solidarity with our members as well. 

Know Your Rights:  Equitable In-House Substitute Coverage. Equitable class coverage language is found on page 20 of the HEA CBA (contract)  This is the first year every school is required to have an equitable substitute rotation plan developed by your SLT.  Office managers should have your school’s plan readily available as well as a means of tracking who covered each emergency job.  This form should be readily available for all to view.  If you are unsure of your substitute rotation plan, contact your SLT representative to get a copy.  

Currently, there are some differences at elementary versus secondary schools given the hybrid models.  Secondary teachers can read page 8 of the Secondary MOU along with the language below which provides additional clarification.

  • At secondary, in-house emergency coverage is when a teacher is given responsibility for teaching another teacher’s in-person AND remote students, because that person is accessing leave and is not available to teach any of their students.  
  • Proctoring is when a small number of in-person students are physically housed in another teacher’s classroom while they are attending class remotely with another teacher or completing asynchronous work. In general, if students are there because their teacher is working remotely, there would not be compensation for this, because the remote teacher is being paid to teach. This situation should be voluntary on the part of the proctoring teacher. If for some reason it is made mandatory by an administrator, then the in-person classroom teacher would need to be paid an Extra Service Contract (ESC) per the CBA language. 
  • However, if someone is proctoring because a teacher is accessing leave and there is not a substitute, the proctoring teacher should receive an ESC.
  • The key factor when determining whether classroom teachers get paid for coverage/proctoring is whether their colleague is using leave (thus the teacher is paid per CBA) versus whether their colleague was granted permission to work remotely for a day or two (likely creating the unpaid volunteer proctor situation). 
  • In-house coverage can be mandatory because members are being paid ESC for it.  However, it should be “equitable” which is why it should be on a rotation schedule of some kind set up by your SLT. We would certainly recommend schools come up with a system wherein any proctoring (paid or unpaid) is voluntary on the part of the receiving teacher.
  • Creating an equitable substitute rotation plan is a new CBA requirement for our SLTs so please check in with your SLT representative first, if you have a question or concern.
  • Follow up with your HEA Rep if needed.