Filter Articles

"COLA Only, Nothing More," is the Wrong Answer from Legislators

Back to Blog

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 COLA – ignoring the need for professional, competitive salaries, health benefits and retirement.

“COLA only, nothing more,” was how one legislator put it.

Regarding Initiative 1351 for smaller class sizes, many legislators said the Legislature won’t fund it – even though voters just approved the initiative in November.

One teacher reported her senator “will NOT commit on COLA or 1351.”

Those answers didn’t sit well with WEA members.

“A majority of the voters supported I-1351 because it’s good for our kids. To have legislators say, ‘NO,’ that’s condescending and just generally wrong,” said Mark Craypo, vice president of the Tacoma Education Association.

With the economy improving, a Supreme Court order to increase school funding and voter support for smaller class sizes and better pay, the 2015 legislative session is the best opportunity in years to substantially increase state funding for education. Yet most legislators said the focus on education was a burden and a problem rather than an opportunity.

“We need to send a message to our legislators: ‘Enough is enough, and it’s time to fully fund public education,” said Jenny Rose, president of the Spokane Education Association.

Some legislators said they supported a capital gains tax on investment profits to help fund education and social and health services, and some also supported a tax on big polluters – positions WEA supports. Many others said they opposed any attempt to raise revenue or make the tax system fairer. Several legislators said it was better to cut social and health services instead of making polluters and the wealthy pay their fair share.

Watch WEA members in action

YouTube video of Jenny Rose, Spokane Education Association president

Information you can use

Compensation facts and messages

I-1351 facts and messages

Revenue facts and messages

WEA’s 2015 legislative priorities

WEA’s priority bills

Stay in touch!

Sign up for regular OurVoice text messages from Olympia by texting the word OURVOICE to 41411.

Back to Blog

Subscribe to our Blog

Subscribe to stay informed.

Filter Blog Posts

Apply Filter


Related Posts