WEA President Kim Mead testifies in support of Gov. Inslee’s budget plan
WEA President Kim Mead testified in support of Gov. Jay Inslee’s state budget proposal this week in the state House and Senate budget committees.
K-12 education is the single largest part of the state budget – over half of Inslee’s $54 billion two-year state budget plan is earmarked for public education.
“Student health and safe schools are a priority for WEA members,” Mead told legislators. “We believe students, educators and community members have a fundamental right to be safe at school.
“We urge you to fund additional counselors, psychologists, nurses, therapists, social workers and other mental health services for all students in every public school.”
On Tuesday, Inslee gave his annual state-of-the-state speech, in which he highlighted his commitment to investing in the positions Mead identified.
"… (W)e’re committed to putting more social workers, counselors, psychologists and nurses in our schools,” Inslee said.
Inslee’s budget plan is a starting point. Legislators in the House and the Senate will release their budget proposals later in the legislative session, and a final budget won’t be voted on until April at the earliest.
Here are Mead’s budget hearing remarks:
I am Kim Mead, president of the Washington Education Association, representing teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals and former and future educators.
We appreciate Gov. Inslee’s strong record of support for public schools.
Washington educators are pleased the Governor’s budget proposal funds the newly negotiated agreement to improve health insurance for K-12 educators. The implementation of the School Employee Benefits Board program will put K-12 employee benefits on par with benefits for state employees and state elected officials.
We strongly support Gov. Inslee’s proposal to restore levy flexibility, which will allow school districts and local voters to meet the specific needs of their students beyond state-funded basic education.
WEA supports cost-of-living increases for all K-12 and community and technical college faculty and staff – as well as the cost of living adjustment for retired educators. We urge this committee to provide additional compensation increases for college faculty and staff across the state.
We also appreciate Gov. Inslee’s proposal to add elementary school counselors and student health services. WEA supports increasing counselors and other education support professionals in all our schools, from elementary to our college campuses.
Student health and safe schools are a priority for WEA members. We believe students, educators and community members have a fundamental right to be safe at school.
We urge you to fund additional counselors, psychologists, nurses, therapists, social workers and other mental health services for all students in every public school.
Educators believe all students deserve the individual help, support and resources they need to be successful in the classroom and in the community.