Spotlighting educator pay
Coming up this week – take action now!
- Education Support Professionals (ESPs) need wage increases but we must confince lawmakers of the importance of investing in ESP wages, and now! Can you meet – virtually or in person – with legislators to stress how important it is to increase ESP pay? Let us know!
- Senate Ways & Means will be hearing SB 5650, PK-12 educator COLAs, on Tuesday. The companion bill, HB 1732, was heard in House Appropriations on Thursday. Read more below. Sign in pro here.
- The bill supporting student access to school library information and technology programs (SB 5102) passed in Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee on Monday. It’s now scheduled for hearing in Ways & Means on Tuesday at 4:00pm. Sign in pro here.
- Right now the state funding formula for certificated staff doesn’t do a good job of taking into account the experience levels of districts’ staff. SB 5671 would adjust district funding to better reflect the experience of their workforce, rewarding districts that retain staff. WEA will be there to testify pro at Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education on Monday. Sign in pro here.
- We need to make sure the wealthiest Washingtonians are paying their fair share. The proposed wealth tax (HB 1473) would apply only to the most extremely wealthy residents and generate needed revenue to support our schools and public services.
If you’re interested in testifying on these bills, please contact WEA Political Organizer Hillary Hunt.
21 WEA members testified this week!
Adam Aguilera (Evergreen EA) on teacher residency and early career supports; Kristen Bao Anh Le (Seattle EA) on teacher residency and early career supports; Kristi Bonds (Olympia EA) on library & technology programs and on expanding media literacy education; Kenna Bristow-Winston (Highline College AHE) on part-time faculty pay; Gavin Downing (Kent EA) on library & technology programs and on expanding media literacy education; Eryn Duffee (Edmonds EA) on library & technology programs; Jennifer Dunne (Seattle EA) on recess equity; Thomas Fairchild (Student WEA) on teacher residency and early career supports; Barbara Lachman (Shoreline EA) on library & technology programs; Jen Ligot (Northshore EA) on expanding media literacy education; Sarah Logan (Camas EA) on library & technology programs; Bill Lyne (United Faculty of WA) on promoting higher ed to high school students; Constance Pappas (Camas EA) on expanding media literacy education; Sherry Rivard Leon (Elma EA) on Special Education funding; Elizabeth Roberts (Bellevue EA) on library & technology programs; Shawn Sheller (Kent EA) on expanding media literacy education; Suzanne Southerland (Clark College AHE) on part-time faculty pay; Courtney Stepp (Renton EA) on recess equity; Val Torrens (Olympia College AHE) on part-time faculty pay; Antonia Woods (Seattle EA) on teacher residency and early career supports; Amy Yaeger (Bellevue EA) on expanding media literacy education.
Additionally, 3 members spoke at their confirmation hearings in Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education: Brooke Brown (Franklin-Pierce EA) for the state Board of Education; Amy Campbell (Camas EA) & Alejandro Castro-Wilson (Renton EA) for the Professional Educator Standards Board
If you provided verbal or written testimony before the legislature, we’d like to do a shout-out about you! Please contact WEA Political Organizer Hillary Hunt.
Advocating for raises for all educators
Across the state, WEA members are uniting to call for state legislators to fund respectful pay. We have the critical job of teaching and caring for children and the state should pay us enough to support ourselves and our families.
ESPs: Lawmakers have not yet taken action on ESP raises, which means it’s time for us to take action. We see in all our schools how low wages for bus drivers, paraeducators, office professionals, nutrition and building services, and more are resulting in severe hardship on ESPs and our families plus vacancies, turnover, and stress on our students. It’s critical that we share our experiences with as many legislators as possible in the next two weeks – can you meet with legislators virtually or Olympia on this issue? Let us know!
Higher ed: This week, Senate Higher Ed & Workforce Development heard a bill to improve pay for part-time faculty, SB 5557, and WEA members were there to make their voices heard. Colleges are relying more and more on part-time faculty to teach classes but the pay is often only for classroom teaching time and is far below full-time faculty rates. It’s time to change that!
Certificated & Classified K-12: Coming up this week, Senate Ways & Means has a hearing on SB 5650 to fund educator Cost of Living Increases. The bill specifies a 3.8% COLA for 2023-2024, and then the previous year’s Implicit Price Deflator beginning in 2024-2025. This would make it known what the COLA should be so that we’re not fighting over it every year.
Nearly 200 WEA members have shared our experiences about why we need a raise. If you haven’t yet, share your experiences here!
Tracking our priorities
- Many bills are moving that would increase funding for Special Education. HB 1436 was heard in House Appropriations on Thursday, and SB 5311 had a hearing Thursday in Ways & Means. The House bill doesn't have sufficient funding at this point; our preferred bill right now is SB 5311.
- HB 1418 and SB 5442 would create new and unique funding streams only for charter schools and doesn’t take into account public schools with similar needs. The House bill will be heard in Appropriations on this coming Thursday; the Senate bill was heard on Thursday. WEA opposes.
- WEA supports HB 1504 & SB 5257 requiring 30 minutes of recess for elementary students. The House bill is scheduled for exec on Tuesday and Thursday in the Committee on Education; the Senate bill is in Rules awaiting floor action.
- The educator workforce development bill (HB 1565) is scheduled for executive action in the House Committee on Education on Tuesday and Thursday, 2/14 and 2/16.
- The House bill to provide free school meals to all K-12 students (HB 1238) passed in House Education and was referred to Appropriations.
- Both bills on inclusive learning standards and inclusive curricula, SB 5441 and SB 5462, passed in Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education this week. SB 5462 on standards is now in Rules awaiting floor scheduling; SB 5441 on curricula is referred to Ways & Means.
- The bill around Special Education evaluation and access (HB 1305) passed in House Education on Wednesday but remains an ongoing conversation. WEA has engaged heavily to ensure that reduced evaluation timelines and other problematic provisions do not move forward. The bill was referred from the House Education Committee to the House Appropriations committee on Thursday where negotiations on possible amendments will continue.
- The transitional Kindergarten bill (HB 1550) could have funding consequences for the program, plus it changes licensing requirements for educators. The bill is scheduled for executive session in House Committee on Education on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. WEA is working to address the issues with this proposal.
- The bill expanding multi-lingual and tribal language education (HB 1228) passed in the House Education Committee and is now referred to Appropriations.
- The bill ensuring universal screening for highly capable students (SB 5072) passed in the Senate on Tuesday and is now in the House, referred to the Education Committee.
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