The hot weather is gone so I can't imagine what it is affecting the brains of the editorial board at the Seattle Times.
Their latest editorial about the State starting negotiations with the Washington Federation of Sate Employees soon.
They give recent history:
Twice now they have done this. In September 2008, they agreed to pay
raises in the two-year contract. In the midst of the worst financial
crisis in 75 years, Gregoire approved them and within weeks the state's
Office of Financial Management (OFM) said the contracts were impossible.
The state had to go back and ask that the raises be canceled. The union
sued, lost, and agreed to cancel the raises.
In 2010, deals were
reached in October; a month later the Office of Financial Management
declared them to be infeasible. Gregoire asked that the employee share
of health-insurance premiums, set in the contract at 12 percent, be
increased to 26 percent, which was the average for family coverage among
private employers at the time.
But a contract had been signed,
putting her in a poor bargaining position. She settled for a 15 percent
employee share, plus a 3 percent pay cut that is due to expire June 30.
But then there is this:
The Legislature and governor have been ordered by the Washington Supreme
Court to increase state support of K-12 public schools. In a
21st-century economy, the state needs to do more than this. It needs to
increase support of schooling from age 3 to 23, and it needs to begin
doing this in the legislative session of 2013.
The state's labor negotiators have to be tough. The reason is not any
blame cast upon state employees. It is simply that the state must make a
down payment on its obligation to education, and it has to have the
money to do it with.
So I see a disconnect. The Times says, basically, that the State has the obligation to fully fund education and is mandated by both the Constitution and the realities of the time we live in to give students the learning they need to succeed.
And yet they want charter schools.
The money for charters would be NEW spending. We have no new money so the first question is; where would that money come from?
Two, understand that this talk of "money follows students" is true except that's from existing school to existing school. These are new schools so yes, the pot of money gets thinned as more schools come online. (We could get additional students overall into K-12 ed in the state but that is unlikely as private schools have held their share for decades even into the recession.)
Three, most of the new spending for charters is for administration and a large chunk is for administration at the state level. Any new money should go into the classroom.
I don't get it.