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First special session ends, second starts, still no agreement on school funding

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IMG_5687After the 105-day regular legislative session and a 30-day special session that ended Tuesday, there’s still no deal on a state budget.

Gov. Jay Inslee immediately called a second special session and urged legislators to negotiate a final budget before the fiscal year ends June 30.

Meanwhile, WEA members remain firmly opposed to the Senate Republican budget plan, which doesn’t amply fund K-12 public schools and is packed with punitive and reckless policies that are bad for schools and students.

More than 100 WEA members traveled to Olympia Tuesday to demand a budget that amply funds public education and to oppose the Senate GOP budget, which falls far short. It was the final and largest day for Occupy Olympia, a daily protest organized by local WEA leaders that began May 1.

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Gov. Jay Inslee greets and thanks WEA members outside his office.

WEA members left notes for legislators, waved signs, sang songs and filled the marble halls outside Gov. Inslee’s office. They also posted to social media using the #waedu and #waleg hashtags. Just before he met with the media to discuss the budget, the Governor came out and spoke with WEA members – assuring them that he stood with them and would continue to support education funding. Allies from Washington’s Paramount Duty, the League of Women Voters and Sound Alliance also joined WEA members in Olympia. TV and other media reported on our efforts.

WEA President Kim Mead reminded members of the importance of continuing to advocate for students and public education – especially in light of the Senate Republicans’ budget plan.

“We want to make sure that the kids have the education they deserve,” Mead said.

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WEA members picket to protest the Senate GOP budget.

WEA members in other areas also are taking action this week. WEA Riverside members in the Vancouver-area waved signs, picketed and door-belled in the neighborhood of a senator who voted for the bad budget.

Central Kitsap Education Association members waved signs and banners on busy street corners, and several WEA members are helping with a WEA cable TV ad about the budget.

“It is so important you continue to use your voice to fight for kids,” Seattle Education Association President Phyllis Campano told educators at the Capitol.

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