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Category Archives: Education Funding

No budget, but crucial deadline looms

Email your legislators and tell them to fully fund smaller class sizes.

_MG_0226Washington legislators have been in session for 133 days – yet they haven’t passed a state schools budget that fully funds smaller K-12 class sizes. But with an important deadline looming, Senate budget writer Andy Hill says legislators have a strong incentive to pass a budget and leave Olympia ASAP.

That important deadline? A golf tournament.

“Right now there’s a desire to get done by June 11 so we don’t hit the traffic Armageddon of the U.S. Open (golf tournament), and the lack of hotel rooms in Olympia,” Hill told The News Tribune.

Because of the Legislature’s failure to pass a budget, legislators remain in contempt of court over their failure to fully fund K-12 public schools. Meanwhile, the list of one-day walkouts against the Legislature has grown to 65 school districts, involving a majority of WEA members and Washington students.

Although the Legislature hasn’t passed a budget, officials in Olympia did make progress on one big issue during the 30-day special session that began in April: An independent salary commission gave legislators an 11 percent raise and said the increase was necessary to attract and keep quality legislators.

_MG_0476In contrast, current budget plans propose giving educators cost-of-living adjustments of either 4.8 percent (House) or 3 percent (Senate), both spread over two years. The Senate budget also fails to keep up with the increased cost of educator health care, which means many educators would actually take home less money next school year.

Both budgets fail to fully fund smaller K-12 class sizes as required by law, ignoring voter-approved I-1351. The Legislature’s refusal to fully fund I-1351 remains a major problem.

In addition to funding for smaller class sizes and professional pay and benefits, here are other big education issues in play:

Local control. Senate Republicans have proposed legislation that dramatically restricts school districts from investing local levy funding in academic programs and classes, a major attack on local decision making. For example, the bill would prohibit districts from offering music, art, AP or other classes beyond what the state funds, and it would restrict the ability to pay teachers for additional time, responsibility and incentive (TRI). (WEA opposes this proposal.)

High-stakes testing. A bill reducing the high-stakes nature of high school standardized tests passed the House but failed to get a vote in the Senate. (WEA supported the bill.) The Senate passed legislation linking test scores to evaluations, but it failed to get a vote in the House. (WEA opposed the bill.)

Gov. Jay Inslee is expected to call a second special session, and the Legislature must approve a state operating by June 30 or face a partial government shut down.

 

Walkouts grow; Sen. Hill ‘puzzled,’ says budget plans are ‘phenomenal’

Updated strike list and map Educators across the state are staging one-day strikes against the Legislature over inadequate school funding, but the lead Senate budget writer doesn’t understand why. “Sen. Andy Hill, who represents Kirkland and is a chief budget writer in the Senate, said the timing of the walk-out(s) is puzzling, as either budget proposalContinue Reading

Thousands protest against the Legislature on class size, compensation

Read the list of walkouts – and the map! Thousands of WEA members, parents and students rallied in downtown Seattle Tuesday to protest the Washington Legislature’s failure to fully fund smaller K-12 class sizes and professional pay and benefits for school employees. Teachers and support professionals in Seattle, Mercer Island and Issaquah picketed in theirContinue Reading

Pressure grows – it’s time to fully fund smaller class sizes & compensation

When it comes to school funding, WEA members are taking action – and legislators are starting to feel the pressure: WEA has a new school funding radio ad featuring Bellevue teacher Mark Morrow. It’s airing across the state and highlights the need for professional pay and benefits and how neither the House nor the SenateContinue Reading

New map shows one-day strikes against the Legislature; list grows to 45 districts

Check out the rolling strike map ! Teachers in 45 school districts across the state have approved one-day strikes against the Legislature over school funding. See the list below. The protests have spread to all parts of the state, from Blaine to Camas to Eastern Washington. Teachers are walking out to protest budget plans that fail to fully fund smallerContinue Reading

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