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WEA responds to Governor Inslee's proposed budget

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Washingtonians, no matter where we live, our race, or our income, agree that high-quality public schools are critical to building a strong future for our state. But years of eroding support from the state budget have left our students with growing and urgent unmet needs. The Governor’s proposed budget begins to address some of the most urgent needs but as a state, we have a long way to go to set students up for success.

WEA appreciates that the Governor has proposed a meaningful wage increase for paraeducators, an important starting point for addressing the need to improve wages for all school support staff – from bus drivers to nutrition support staff to custodians to office professionals. We recommend that the legislature adopt the Governor’s recommended increase plus take steps to provide professional, respectful wages for all school support staff.

The proposed budget continues promising efforts to close the funding gaps in several areas:

  • Increases for Special Education,
  • Improvements to the state funding formulas that support school construction, 
  • Funds to keep students safer from the impact  of climate change with HVAC systems, air filtration enhancements, and general air quality improvements,
  • Continued investment in the teacher residency model, which the Governor has championed to build a more inclusive, representative teaching workforce, and 
  • Budgets for higher education that focus on student supports, enrollment expansion, and workforce.

While these are promising investments, the percentage of the state’s budget devoted to education continues to decline, leaving students statewide without the supports they need. The inadequate funding for the system as a whole is forcing school closures, budget and staffing cuts, and inadequate investments our students.  Our schools and colleges have stretched their budgets as thin as they can—now students’ needs are falling through the cracks. As one of the wealthiest states in the nation, we need to do far more to support our children and help them build a bright future.

The Governor's budget proposal suggests a framework to the House and Senate, which will each develop budget proposals. Differences between House and Senate budget proposals are resolved in conference toward the end of legislative session, with a final budget determined usually in the final hours of the legislative session.

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