December 19, 2014 For immediate release
Contact: Karen Strickland, president, 206-432-8080 (w) or 206-326-0685 (c)
Sylvia Watson, communications, 206-432-8084 (w) or 206-261-3603 (c)
Governor’s Education Budget Proposal a Good Start but More Investment is Needed
Statement by Karen Strickland, President
We commend the governor’s budget proposal to close tax loopholes and establish new revenue sources, such as a capital gains tax. His investments in early learning, funding McCleary, and an enhanced cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for education employees covered under I-732 are a demonstration of the values we share.
This budget begins to address the decades of disinvestment in education.
However, we are concerned that his proposal doesn’t adequately invest in higher education. The tuition freeze makes college more affordable and accessible, but without additional state investment to make up for previous budget cuts, we will be challenged to maintain a high-quality system.
It also does not go far enough to support the dedicated adjunct and full-time faculty at our community and technical colleges. The governor’s budget does not include the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges’ (SBCTC) requested $11.3 million to partially fund earned step increases. For six years faculty have gone without their increases for professional development and experience. AFT Washington has been working with legislators, the SBCTC, college presidents, and other stakeholders to offer solutions to this problem, and will continue to do so during the 2015 legislative session. We seek the governor’s support in these efforts.
Even with the governor’s investments in education, the system remains underfunded. We call on our legislators to recognize the revenue crisis in Washington State by supporting new revenue proposals that build a fair and robust economy. In doing so, Washingtonians who live, work, and play, and who contribute to our state’s economic well-being will have the opportunity to reclaim the promise of the American Dream.
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AFT Washington represents classified, professional, and instructional education employees in early learning, K-12, and community and technical colleges. We also co-represent professors at the state regional universities with the Washington Education Association. AFT Washington is an affiliate of the 1.6 million-member American Federation of Teachers.