WEA President Kim Mead responds to Gov. Inslee's budget
WEA President Kim Mead’s statement in response to Governor Inslee’s budget proposal.
"Thursday morning, Gov. Inslee released his proposed budget, which includes a proposed pay raise for new teachers and certificated staff. Under the Governor’s plan, next year’s minimum state starting teacher and CIS salary would be $40,000, up from the current starting salary of $35,069 this year.
"The governor also included a 1 percent increase for all other teachers and school employees next year. These changes are in addition to the already budgeted increase of 4.8 percent this biennium.
"Improving educator pay was included with the Governor’s other two priorities: paying for last summer’s devastating forest fires and managing caseload growth for other state services.
"Given that it’s the mid-year budget, which is typically a status-quo document, I think this is a reasonable first step toward restoring professional pay and respect to our state’s educators. Emphasis on first step. I appreciate that the Governor included a pay increase for educators in his priorities this year, and we all know more needs to be done.
"Education must be seen as a viable and rewarding career in order to attract more individuals into the profession and to keep their expertise in the classroom. This will require changes to compensation, working conditions, and professional autonomy. Pay must be competitive. Class sizes must allow educators to provide students with the individual attention they deserve. And, the voice of educators must be considered when making educational decisions at the school and in the state legislature.
"The governor’s budget is the opening volley for the 2016 legislative session. WEA continues to remind legislators that the best way to attract and keep qualified teachers and educators is to fully fund education per the McCleary decision. The legislature must meet its obligation to our kids and our constitution and ensure that every child, regardless of ZIP code, has the opportunity for a great public education."