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WEA President Mead testifies in support of Gov. Inslee's school budget

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Kim Mead and Steve Bergquist
WEA President Kim Mead testified in support of Gov. Inslee's budget. She's seen here with teacher Rep. Steve Bergquist, who serves on the House Appropriations Committee.

On the same day Gov. Inslee touted his education funding plan in his annual state of the state speech, WEA President Kim Mead testified in support of the governor’s supplemental budget proposal.

In the budget plan he released last month, Inslee called for investing an additional $1 billion in K-12 educator salaries to comply with the Washington Supreme Court’s most recent McCleary case order. His plan also funds additional counselors and other student needs.

“It is crucial that we implement the McCleary plan now, because a child is only a third grader once and you don’t get that year back,” Inslee said.

Mead, appearing before the Senate Ways and Means Committee Jan. 9, told senators WEA supports Inslee’s school funding plan. She also testified before House budget committee a day earlier. Here is her testimony.

“I am Kim Mead representing nearly 94,000 members of the Washington Education Association. WEA represents K-12 certificated educators, classified education support professionals, higher education faculty and staff, retired educators and aspiring educators.

“We are glad the Governor’s budget includes the funding needed to fully implement the state’s school funding plan by September of this year. Competitive compensation is necessary to attract and keep caring, qualified and committed educators to teach and work in schools. 

“The Governor’s budget responds to the Supreme Court’s McCleary order, but also makes other important investments in our education system: 

  • Students will have access to additional guidance counselors to navigate their plans for high school and beyond.
  • Bilingual high school students will have new options for entering educator prep programs, where they will receive support and mentoring.
  • Retired educators, who haven't had a cost of living adjustment since 2010, will see some much-needed relief for the first time since the financial crisis. 

“The WEA supports the Governor’s budget for its strong commitment to the students of our state. The educators of Washington state are united in the belief that all children, regardless of their background, deserve an amply funded, high-quality public education.”

WEA Day of Unity set for Jan. 10

More than 120 WEA members will be in Olympia Jan. 10 for WEA’s Day of Unity. Here’s a news release about their activities:

Educators deliver their Unity Agenda to legislators

United design with white backgroundOn Wednesday, Jan. 10, more than 110 educators from across the state will visit the Capitol for the Washington Education Association’s Day of Unity. Teams of educators will be delivering WEA’s Unity Agenda to legislators, explaining their legislative goals and asking lawmakers to support top education priorities.
The Unity Agenda outlines WEA’s legislative goals for 2018, including K-12 funding, bargaining rights for college faculty, retiree benefits, student loan forgiveness and legislation to help protect the rights of immigrant students and their families.

“WEA is more than 94,000 K-12 certificated educators, classified education support professionals, higher education faculty and staff, retired educators and aspiring educators,” said Kim Mead, WEA president. “Our Unity Agenda of legislative goals for 2018 reflects the diversity of our membership and focuses on the needs of our students. We are united in our commitment to our students and profession.”

Educators will gather at the Olympia Woman’s Club, 1002 Washington St. SE, near the capitol campus beginning at 9 am, with a kick-off at 10 am. Several Democratic legislators are scheduled to speak about key legislation. Teams of educators will then meet with legislators, returning to the Woman’s Club at 2 pm to tally their results. Senate Majority Leader Sharon Nelson and newly elected Sen. Manka Dhingra are scheduled to speak around 2:30 pm.

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