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WEA opposes Senate Republicans' reckless K-12 schools budget

03/21/2017
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Rossi et al 2017
These Senate GOP leaders wrote a budget that fails our students.

The Senate Republican state budget plan released today will increase class sizes for students, reduce funding for special education students and eliminate cost-of-living adjustments for public school employees.

The plan overturns two separate school funding initiatives approved by Washington voters, and it severely limits how much local voters can invest in their schools to meet the needs of their students.

“The Washington Constitution is clear: Quality public education is a civil right for ALL students, regardless of where they live or their family background,” said WEA President Kim Mead. “However, the Senate budget fails to keep our constitutional promise to our children, and it falls short of the investment in public education required by the Supreme Court’s McCleary decision.

“In contrast, Gov. Inslee’s school budget and the House Democratic funding plan reflect the values and priorities shared by both the framers of our Constitution and the voters of Washington. Gov. Inslee’s budget plan also protects local decision-making, including collective bargaining.”

Mead testifed against the budget. Here are her prepared remarks:

Chair Braun and committee members:

I am Kim Mead, middle school teacher representing the Washington Education Association’s 92,000 educators and school employees.

Kim testifying 3-21-17
WEA President Kim Mead testified against the Senate R budget Tuesday.

Budgets are more than just dollars and figures. Budgets represent our priorities and core values as a society. The Washington Constitution is clear: Quality public education is a civil right for ALL students, regardless of where they live or their family background.

However, the Senate budget fails to keep our Constitutional promise to our children, and it does not comply with the Supreme Court’s McCleary decision.

  • This budget increases class sizes for students by eliminating the voter-approved initiative to reduce class sizes.
  • This budget restricts funding needed to meet the needs of our most vulnerable special education students.
  • This budget limits educator pay and eliminates voter-approved cost-of-living adjustments.

In contrast, Gov. Inslee’s school budget and the House Democrats' funding plan reflect our state’s values and priorities by investing in educators and providing the support their students need.Their budget plans protect local decision-making, including collective bargaining, and they fund the negotiated state-employee contracts.

Please work with the House and follow the Governor’s lead. Pass a budget that prioritizes our values as a state -- one that raises revenue to fully fund our children’s education education and protect social and health services, higher education, and other crucial programs Washington families need and expect.

Thank you.

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