Competitive, professional compensation for all

WEA supports Gov. Inslee's proposed K-12 schools budget, which increases state funding by nearly $4 billion, including major increases in pay for teachers and education support profgessionals

Locked in a partisan stalemate, the state's own Education Funding Task Force failed to meet a deadline for making recommendations to the Legislature. Democrats on the task force released a specific funding plan that calls for increasing educator compensation. Republicans on the group released a set of "guiding principles," which included attacks on collective bargaining and other union rights.

Read this newspaper story about how Gov. Inslee's budget will benefit students.

There is a teacher shortage

Washington's public schools are facing a well-documented shortage of teachers and education support professionals.

Here's a recent survey conducted by the OSPI and the Washington School Personnel Association that found 97 percent of the districts survey reported they were struggling to hire teachers or in a crisis mode.

Competitive, professional pay and benefits are crucial to attracting and keeping caring, qualified teachers and education support professionals.

Here's what OSPI says: "School districts in Washington are having major difficulties hiring mathematics, science, special education, and other teachers, especially in rural and high poverty schools. All school districts report a significant shortage in substitute teachers. Additionally, the implementation of full-day kindergarten and K–3 class size reduction, along with teacher retirements, increasing attrition, and student enrollment growth, will require hiring approximately 10,000 new K–3 teachers in the next 3–4 years."

Washington school districts are facing a statewide teacher shortage. WEA supports Gov. Jay Inslee's budget plan to dramatically increase pay for all school employees. Supt. of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal also supports Inslee's compensation proposals. Inslee and Democrats on the state Education Funding Task Force have called for maintaining existing local collective bargaining rights for public school employees. Republicans on the Education Funding Task Force say restricting bargaining and other union rights is one of their "guiding principles."

Reykdal has been vocal in his support for local collective bargaining for school employees and the ability of school districts to supplement base pay with levy funding. 

"Just as local school districts can further lower class sizes beyond the state’s prototypical school funding model, districts can supplement compensation beyond the state’s contribution," Reykdal said, adding that Inslee's budget plan "respects local collective bargaining."

Fully funding professional and competitive compensation is a major part of WEA's McCleary school funding recommendations to the state.

Protecting our freedom to bargain pay locally

Through local collective bargaining, WEA members and school boards across the state have negotiated significant increases in educator pay this year.

Several locals negotiated locally funded pay raises of 5 percent a year, or in the case of Darrington teachers, a 12 percent increase over two years. Education support professionals in Northshore will receive a 19 percent pay increase over four years, and in University Place, starting pay for office professionals is increasing by $3.15 an hour this year.

Because of our success in negotiating pay raises, our freedom to collectively bargain compensation with our employers is under attack.

This is true for both for certificated staff and education support professionals. Some politicians and political groups, including school boards, school administrators and the Freedom Foundation, are lobbying the Legislature to eliminate or limit local bargaining for Time Responsibility and Incentive (TRI).

They want to force all K-12 school employees to negotiate pay and benefits with the state instead of their local school districts.

Given the state’s dismal track record on school funding, WEA members are adamantly opposed to statewide bargaining. McCleary requires the state to increase funding for basic education – it does not require limiting our local bargaining rights.