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Teachers’ unions express support for Inslee’s budget plan

But AFT Washington urges greater investment in community, technical colleges


OLYMPIA (Dec. 17, 2018) — The leaders of Washington state’s biggest unions representing K-12 and higher education educators have expressed support for the budget proposal unveiled last week by Gov. Jay Inslee.

“Washington educators are pleased Gov. Inslee’s budget proposal provides funding for the newly negotiated agreement to improve health insurance for K-12 educators,” said Kim Mead, President of the Washington Education Association. “Gov. Inslee’s budget plan also calls for restoring levy flexibility, which will allow school districts and voters to meet the specific needs of their students beyond state-funded basic education… We urge the Legislature to support the Governor’s educator health care and school levy proposals and his plan to fund training for paraeducators who work with students.”

AFT Washington also expressed support for Inslee’s proposal but warned it falls short on what is needed to restore investments in our state community and technical colleges.

“We are very pleased with the revenue proposals that help to balance our regressive tax system and raise much-needed revenue,” said AFT Washington President Karen Strickland said. “While we appreciate the investments in education that he proposes, this budget falls short on investments in community and technical college employees, who earn well below market rate salaries, of whom too many are adjunct faculty and of whom too few are counselors.”

The Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges commissioned a study this year that found a serious need to invest in Washington State’s Community and Technical Colleges (CTCs), due to expected job growth over the next five years. In addition, the CTC system over-relies on adjunct faculty, many of whom do not earn a living wage, making it more challenging to be educators in a critical system that will support the growth of Washington’s middle class.

One factor in AFT Washington’s goal of enhancing faculty salaries and providing for other needed investments in CTC students is the strong public support for the state’s CTCs, with 9 out of 10 Washingtonians supporting an increase in state funding for CTCs.

“We will work throughout the session to raise salaries rather than simply keep from falling further behind, to increase counselors so that we reach a 1 to 900 ratio, improving on the current 1 to 1900, invest in equity, diversity and inclusion throughout the system, and acknowledge the challenging working conditions of our members who work in correctional facilities,” Strickland said.

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