Washington’s education union is planning a series of one-day strikes protesting the Legislature’s work on education funding. See here for information on the strike.
What have lawmakers done for students this year?
- Greatest new investment in K-12 of any budget in state history
- Bipartisan efforts would invest in all-day kindergarten, K-3 class size reduction and fully funding costs of maintenance supplies and operations.
- 47 percent of the budget dedicated to K-12 education — a share not seen since the 1980’s.
- New spending over 3:1 for education, similar to 2013-15.
- Follows 30 years when education was put behind growth in non-education spending by a 2:1 margin over education.
- This represents a fundamental shift in priorities not seen in 30 years, since the MCC started governing in the Senate in 2013.
- $2.7 billion total proposed spending increase for K-12 education bringing from $15.3 billion in 2013-15 to $18 billion in 2015-17.
- Additional $1.3 billion toward basic education addressing the McCleary decision.
- $440 million in additional teacher pay and benefits Including voter-approved teacher COLAs.
- Builds 2,200 classrooms to lower class size for K-3 grades
- Per-pupil funding will see a 33% increase since MCC came to be.
Putting adults ahead of children
- Washington ranks 8th in the nation for teacher absenteeism.
- Progressive think tank, Center for American Progress, notes that “schools serving larger proportions of African-American and Latino students are “disproportionately exposed to teacher absence.”
- More time away from the classroom is detrimental to students.
|Year||K-12 Funding Changes||COLA?|
|2009-11||$340 million CUT||No|
|2011-13||$652 million (below maintenance level)||No|
|2013-15||$1.6 billion increase||No|
|2015-17 (proposed)||$2.7 billion increase||Yes|
Education union announced teachers in 29 districts voted to stage a one-day strike protesting Senate proposals that harm students and blame teachers.
|School District||Date||Avg. Salary|
|Mount Vernon||4/24/15||$ 60,198|
|Sedro Woolley||4/29/15||$ 62,561|
|Bainbridge Island||4/30/15||$ 62,426|
|Oak Harbor||5/1/15||$ 60,849|
|Lake Washington||5/6/15||$ 62,735|
|South Whidbey||5/6/15||$ 68,188|
|Central Kitsap||5/7/15||$ 64,738|
|Granite Falls||5/8/15||$ 70,637|
|Lake Stevens||5/8/15||$ 72,300|
|Franklin Pierce||5/8/15||$ 62,167|
|Evergreen/Clark County||5/13/15||$ 62,560|
|North Kitsap||5/18/15||$ 62,843|
WEA misinformation claims:
- Claim: Senate Republicans voted to “shortchange” pay and benefits for teachers and school staff.
- Fact: Senate operating budget would bring teacher COLAs to voter-approved levels providing $440 million in additional teacher pay and benefits.
- Claim: Senate Republicans are likely getting an 11 percent pay increase.
- Fact: If so, all state lawmakers will receive a raise, which would be determined by the Washington Citizens’ Commission on Salaries for Elected Officials.
- Claim: Senate Republicans voted to increase class sizes – even for kids in high-poverty schools.
- Fact: Senate budget, like the House of Representatives’ spending plan, reduces class size for K-3 where it is proven to work and keeps grades 4-12 at existing levels. Senate also prioritizes class size and all-day kindergarten funding for low-income school districts.
Teacher strikes are illegal
RCW 41.56.120: Nothing contained in this chapter shall permit or grant any public employee the right to strike or refuse to perform his or her official duties.
Attorney General opinion: “In Washington, state and local public employees do not have a legally protected right to strike. No such right existed at common law, and none has been granted by statute.”
The Seattle Times editorial: Teachers union should leave students out of lobbying the Legislature
“Instead of striking, teachers across Washington state should be celebrating … The union, which is consistently one of the biggest spenders in Olympia, knows the lobby game. It should keep its lobbying efforts there, and leave the kids out of it.”