A single statistic demonstrates the problem. According to data from the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, the State paid 99% of the cost of educator salaries in 1987-88 and only 77% of those costs in 2012-13. The large portion of local salary costs puts a tremendous burden on school districts to fund their share of things like COLAs and increased staffing. More importantly, according to the Washington Supreme Court, it is a violation of our State Constitution.
WASA has made communicating about this issue with broader audiences a priority during this legislative session. One way that we have been doing that is through meetings with the editorial boards of several newspapers. Thus far we have met with The Olympian, The Everett Herald, and The Spokesman-Review. We are schedule to meet with The Seattle Times in early March.
It appears that our message in these meetings has been resonating with the editorial boards. A February 12 editorial in The Olympian addressed the issues we raised with them as part of their proposal that the state bargain directly with teachers’ unions for wages and benefits. That editorial stated:
considers employee pay part of basic education and that the state’s growing
reliance on local, voter-approved levies to pay more than a quarter of local
school costs, in many cases, is untenable.
McCleary decision and its own legislation, it will have to find funding to
address pay and benefits for teachers and other school employees, the most
basic part of basic education. The governor's $2.3 billion education budget …
doesn't adequately address the funding necessary for teacher pay.
is for the state to fully fund education as its “paramount duty.” That will require
the state to provide the funding for a far greater share of teacher pay, a
commitment that will require more revenue.
Court has repeatedly rebuked the Legislature for in the education-funding case
known as McCleary: School districts are using too much money from local
property tax levies to cover the cost of paying staff. Those costs are largely a
basic education expenditure, the court has said, and therefore the state’s
discussed behind-the-scenes among lawmakers, but they’re not ready to
be released yet.