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Teacher Strikes Against the Legislature Continue - and Grow

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More than 1,000 Marysville and Oak Harbor teachers staged one-day strikes Friday to protest the Legislature’s failure to pass – or even propose — a budget that fully funds public education.IMG_2189

And nearly 2,000 educators in the Evergreen School District near Vancouver confirmed they will walk out against the Legislature on May 13.

Educators in Oak Harbor and Marysville spent May Day wearing red and picketing with signs that said, “On Strike Against the Legislature.”

“I’m here because I believe it’s important we stand up for our students and the future of public education,” said Paula McLaughlin, a Marysville teacher on the picket line. “The Legislature is in contempt of court over school funding, and we need to hold them accountable. Quality public education is a constitutional right!”

IMG_2195Even though a special legislative session began Wednesday, Legislators left Olympia Thursday afternoon after making no progress on a budget deal.

Teachers in at least 24 school districts have voted to stage one-day strikes against the Legislature, and considering the lack of urgency and progress in Olympia, the list is likely to grow.

After six years with no educator COLA and five years with no increase in health care funding, it’s time for the Legislature to fund competitive, professional pay and benefits for school employees.

Neither the House nor the Senate budget provides anything near the 11 percent pay raise legislators are likely to get. In fact, because the Senate budget only funds a minimal COLA and no increase in health care, many educators would take home less money next year.

IMG_2177Current budget plans fail to fully fund Initiative 1351’s smaller K-12 class sizes, which means they increase class sizes in grades 4-12 and in high-poverty schools.

“We need smaller class sizes. Then you can have a relationship with your students and see where they need help,” said Sherri Taliaferro, a middle-school teacher in Marysville.

Here is the current list of teachers striking against the Legislature:

  1. Lakewood (April 22)
  2. Stanwood-Camano (April 22)
  3. Arlington (April 22)
  4. Bellingham (April 24)
  5. Blaine (April 24)
  6. Conway (April 24)
  7. Ferndale (April 24)
  8. Mount Vernon (April 24)
  9. Anacortes (April 24)
  10. Sedro Woolley (April 29)
  11. Bainbridge Island (April 30)
  12. Burlington-Edison (April 30)
  13. Marysville (May 1)
  14. Oak Harbor (May 1)
  15. Lake Washington (May 6)
  16. Northshore (May 6)
  17. South Whidbey (May 6)
  18. Central Kitsap (May 7)
  19. Granite Falls (May 8)
  20. Shoreline (May 11)
  21. Evergreen/Clark County (May 13)
  22. North Kitsap (May 18)
  23. Sequim (TBD)
  24. Peninsula (TBD)
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