State Balances Budget on the Backs of Teachers

Here's the story from the Seattle Times: Senate's school cuts get low grades from Gregoire, educators.

I like the way that the Governor thinks she can save her reputation by acting upset, pouting, and stamping her little feet - but without actually taking any meaningful action to prevent the cuts to education. She's not fooling anyone. I don't mind that she's ineffectual, but I'm insulted that she thinks we will confuse this act with actual opposition.

Who are the legislators who are looking to make cuts to education while preserving special tax breaks for favored industries and businesses? Oh, right, all of them.


KG said…
Class warfare is only to be waged by one side. Ask the rich and their favorite station FOX.
mirmac1 said…
The lady doth protest too much, methinks...
zb said…
So someone fill me in. Is this actually going to fly in the reconcilliation?

The article talks about 2 provisions: a 3% teacher pay cut & the truancy provision.

I don't know what to say about the teacher pay cut. It's wrong, but we're talking about a 5 billion dollar cut in revenues. We should and can advocate for changes in the tax code to earn more revenue, but if there are specific ones to advocate for, I need someone progressive to fill me in on them. It's difficult to get the info on some business tax credi that you don't really understand in order to advocate.

The truancy provision -- is there any justification for it? Are there school districts in which registered students effectively don't show up for weeks or months on end? I don't think that we can afford to pay to educate students who are literally not there (and I don't mean missing a day or a week or whatever here and there). Could this provision be modified to say that after 30 days of unexplained absences or some other provision that would address some of the concerns being raised here?

Gregoire might be stamping her feet, but she also made something clear at the beginning of this session. She interpreted the initiatives to mean that voters did not want to pay more for state governement, and in turn, that meant that they wanted to have services cut. That's what this budget does.

Oh, and I'm all for suing if it can be effective. I think the courts should be encouraged to draw some meaning into our constitutional guarantee for education.
zb said…
But, that does mean pitting class size reductions against basic health services (which I don't think are guaranteed in the constitution).

It's ugly.

I'm starting to think that we have to start advocating ways to raise revenues west of the cascades independently of what the rest of the state does.
Lori said…
Charlie, I understand your anger, but it's misplaced to direct it all at our Governor and representatives. I don't know what you expect the Governor to do really. Where is she supposed to get the money to fund everything we want? The voters have tied everyone's hands.

And with the Eyman initiative that passed that demands a 2/3 supermajority to pass any new spending bill, well, that's why we can't close those tax loopholes. Closing a loophole creates "revenue" and is considered a tax hike, which requires a 66% vote in the House and Senate, and that's not going to happen, unfortunately.

I'm angry too about the fiscal mess and horrific cuts that are coming. But I'm the most angry, sad to say, at my fellow citizens who continue to believe they can get something for nothing. I'm angry at the initiative process that creates a way for corporations to bypass the system our forefathers set up - a representative democracy. Either we want to elect people to represent us or we don't. But here in WA, we elect people to represent us then try to do the job for them ourselves through initiatives. I've been here nearly 15 years now, and I still don't *get it.* What's the point of having a House and Senate if we are going to hamstring their ability to get things done with citizen initiatives?

The one thing that I *am* angry at my reps about is their failure to put levy equalization (LE) on the chopping block though. As zb eluded to, many of us here consistently vote to fund the things we care about, yet our money gets send hither and yon to support those who want to see government reduced to the point that you can "drown it in the bath tub".

I appreciate what Reuven Carlyle and few others have been doing to daylight this issue. A few months ago, I created a Google alert about levy equalization, to mind-boggling result. Every district that takes in more than it contributes was outraged at the thought of reducing LE. Yet all these newspapers voicing these opinions had had editorials in the fall urging folks to vote down the soda tax, to vote against 1098, and so on. I'm sorry, but at some point, if you say you want small government, you say "live within your means", you say "no" to every tax, then you need to live with the result and stop taking subsidies from King County. Breaks my bleeding heart to say it, but I don't see how we will change voters' opinions until they feel the impact of their votes. We need to give them what they asked for. The east side of the state has asked for drastic cuts, yet they demand no decrease in LE. That's perhaps the one and only tool we have to open voters' eye in Eastern WA, yet our reps refuse to use it. Very disappointing.
Anonymous said…
Does anyone still think that students in private schools aren't doing us all a favor? These sorts of cuts are exactly what is meant when we talk about the actual number of students impacting the per-student funding. You don't get more money endlessly, when you have more costs. It can't be manufactured. The cuts have to come from somewhere.

Anonymous said…
Lori -

The explanations you offer are really just the excuses of a "Democratic" ruling class which is politically incompetent on a good day, and sell outs most days, and they are excuses which are appx. 30 years old.

Remember Proposition 13 in 1978 outta California? That was the Grandma which spawned evil like eyeman and newt and scott walker and ronnie raygun and ... - ALL of whom have been working VERY successfully for 30 years to turn this country into just another 3rd world dog eat dog aristocracy.

It is well past time for blaming the venal and the crooked for being venal and crooked - they're doing what they want to do, AND, they have to excel at lying, otherwise how could they get the bottom 99% to go along with the scam?

They can get away with their scams when their "opponents" are upper middle cla$$ don't rock the boat go along get along professional managers who think politics is about being Teddy White or David Halberstam or David Gergen at the Kennedy School.

I suggest you google "it is better to be feared than loved", or, "doublethink", and you'll begin to get an inkling what the evil and the venal are using as an operations manual -

and how our upper middle cla$$ political pathetics REALLY REALLY need new jobs - OR - they should just join the evil and the venal.

Chapter XVII
Eric M said…
Can teachers work 3% less next year?

That's about 5 days off, as I see it.
Charlie Mas said…
Fortunately, HB 1443 would alter the determination of high school credit and would end the rule that requires 150 hours of planned instruction. That would open the door for the five day furlough for teachers.

Plan B would be to furlough the teachers on the MSP and HSPE test days and just use volunteers to proctor the tests and to babysit the students who are not testing.

The students who are not testing can have assemblies, go on field trips, watch movies, and have early release days.
SP said…
re: 5 day teacher furloughs

As I posted in the section just above this one, Seattle will not be able to use 5 instructional days for teacher furloughs because of the new clause in the waivers which were approved by SBE last week.

Basically, the district would have to cut waiver days and not instructional days, up to the number of days allowed by the legislature (5 proposed).
SP said…
I agree that there will be some changes coming up when the definition of the 150 hrs/HS credit is dropped (but it won't be until May, 2012).

For Seattle, it probably won't make any difference as the district & school board have taken the idea that all time at school except lunch counts as "instructional time" in the calculation of a high school credit, so therefore according to district calculations all high schools deliver the same amount of instruction to our students for the 150 hrs/credit requirement!

This, of course we all know is not true- how can they count second breakfasts, extended break times and passing periods, advisory time, study hall, etc. which varies school-by-school, as specific instructional time for example towards a math credit? Seattle has set the bar lower than any other district in our state with the current implementation of the requirement. I hope this new legislation gives us the opportunity to adopt a realistic definition that the schools can follow.

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