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‘I haven’t seen much improvement’ in compensation

correct_logoEducators have a strong message for their legislators this year: fully fund our public schools, including professional compensation beyond a COLA (cost-of-living adjustment).

“I’m not satisfied. I’ve been sitting at the end of the pay scale for many years and I haven’t seen much improvement,” said Marla Morton, a speech language pathologist in the Evergreen School District near Vancouver. “I’d like to retire with something comfortable.”

Morton and other WEA members visited their legislators in the capital this week. Besides pressing for professional compensation, they stressed the importance of funding the smaller K-12 class sizes mandated by Initiative 1351, which a majority of Washington voters approved in November.

Morton said she has 65 students over the course of a school day.

“That’s a lot of kids,” she said.

Yet, legislators told her they don’t intend to fund the class-size law.

“That was disturbing to me. I don’t think it’s right,” she said. “It bothered me. But it doesn’t seem like it’s bothering them.”

The legislative session started Jan. 12 and is scheduled to end April 26. Now is a good time to read up on school funding, educator compensation and I-1351. Here are materials, statistics, facts and figures you can read, download, print and share:

Update on WEA priority bills

A WEA-backed bill to eliminate high-stakes tests as a graduation requirement will be heard by the House Education Committee Feb. 3 at 1:30 pm. Known as the “delink” legislation, House Bill 1363 is sponsored by Rep. Sam Hunt.

House Bill 1592 and Senate Bill 5559 allows waivers of tuition and services and activities fees for K-12 classified staff when used for coursework relevant to the work assignment. The Senate bill will be heard Feb. 5 at 1:30 pm and the House bill will be hard at 10 am Feb. 6. WEA members will testify.

House Bill 1863 requires colleges to pay bargained increment steps out of local college funds capped at 1.2 percent of full- and part-time faculty salary base. Sponsored by Rep. Chris Reykdal, it’s a WEA priority bill.

Healthy kids

Sara Schafer
Highline teacher Sarah Schafer testifies in support of a student nutrition bill in Olympia.

Highline teacher Sarah Schafer testified this week before a state Senate committee to support “breakfast before the bell” legislation, which gives students the opportunity to start the school day with a healthy meal in the classroom.

“When the students are eating breakfast in the classroom, the teacher sets the tone of the day,” Schafer testified. “I get a chance to build relationships with them while they eat, I can check in on them and make sure their day is going to be positive. The classroom is inviting, calm and productive.”

The bill, House Bill 1295, falls under WEA’s list of legislative priorities, which includes student nutrition.

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‘COLA only, nothing more,’ is the wrong answer from legislators

WEA members met with Sen. Bruce Dammeier to discuss compensation and smaller class sizes. Nearly 100 WEA members, leaders and staff met with their legislators in Olympia Wednesday to lobby for professional compensation, smaller K-12 class sizes and full funding for public schools. On compensation, some legislators said educators were lucky to get a COLAContinue Reading

Professional educator compensation is more than just a COLA

Washington kids deserve qualified teachers and class sizes small enough to get the individual attention they need to succeed. To attract and keep quality teachers and support staff, we need to pay professional compensation, including salaries, health care and retirement. Here’s a printable PDF list of WEA priority bills, including several that would improve educatorContinue Reading

Stand up for professional compensation for school employees

As educators, we know professional compensation is necessary so we can recruit and retain the qualified, caring teachers and support professionals our kids need.Continue Reading

Gov. Jay Inslee’s budget falls short, so now is the time to take action!

Compensation On Wednesday, WEA members from Puyallup, Bethel and Franklin Pierce traveled to Olympia to lobby for professional educator compensation. Their face-to-face meetings echoed testimony in Senate and House hearings about Gov. Jay Inslee’s budget plan. Bob Shafer, Karen Laase, Karen McNamara and Bill Bailey from Summit UniServ Council lobbied for educator professional compensation this weekContinue Reading

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