On April 14, 2017 our superintendent, along with 33 other superintendents, sent a letter supporting the end to collectively bargaining TRI and compensation as we know it. The letter, titled Education Funding Position Paper, was sent to the governor, OSPI, all surrounding legislators, relevant legislative committees, and a variety of boards. The letter says nothing about what is best for students, what works best locally for one district over another, and NOTHING about administrators' salaries and levels. The level of our compensation and benefits, TRI contracts, and your financial future is at stake by the action taken by our superintendent. All this letter does is provide cover for legislators to make terrible decisions that will drastically impact our ability to negotiate the best compensation and benefits for you.
However, you cannot find this position paper on the Puget Sound Educational Service District (PSESD) website along with the other positions papers authored by PSESD. Not all superintendents signed the letter; Lake Washington and Bellevue schools superintendents did not sign. The Bellevue School Board adopted a resolution on Feb. 8, 2017 that demonstrates the board's resolve to support local collective bargaining.
The PSESD letter does include aspects we support, such as:
- Continuing salary increments for advanced degrees and years of experience;
- Supporting regular cost of living adjustments;
- Support of increased professional development;
- Starting teacher pay at $45,000; and
- Not supporting a "levy swap."
- They are advocating to limit collective bargaining. "At a minimum, statutory limitations must be in place for future collective bargaining agreements that prohibit bargaining of local levy resources for basic duties and responsibilities." This means an end to TRI as we know it. How would you be adequately compensated for all the additional work you do outside of the student day? What would no TRI pay look like for you and your family? Local collective bargaining ensures that our students' needs and our members' needs are addressed here in the district.
- "We strongly support limiting the use of local levy resources to time worked outside of the 180-day school year." You are paid for your TRI because we thought the district recognized how hard you work. Our ability to negotiate the compensation and increases through TRI pay are at stake with this statement by the superintendents. This could also mean we could work to contract. If it is outside of the workday and you are not paid, we don't do it.
- "We support a structure that allocates resources primarily utilizing the per pupil prototypical school model." This is the first step for the Senate Republicans and Betsy DeVos to establish charter schools and vouchers. It also blows up the prototypical class size models established in I-1351.
- "We believe a lower local levy lid of 10-15 percent." So, if we could bargain with "guardrails," where would we fund the compensation you deserve?
WEA is a member of the Washington State Labor Council (WSLC). In response to the superintendents' letter, WSLC has written to our legislators to stand in support of school employees and in support of collective bargaining, something that has worked well in our schools for more than 40 years in Washington. None of the superintendents notified their local unions regarding their recommendations on the behalf of all of us. Please read the WSLC letter.
The WSLC and the WEA support the Democratic House Budget, which does not compromise collective bargaining and supports educators and students. The anti-union Republican Senate Budget does not support educators and students -- it ends collective bargaining for compensation as we know it, and increases class size. It also states that ANYONE can teach if they pass a criminal background check. Is this what you want for your children and for your students? Here is a side-by-side comparison of the two budget proposals so you can compare the differences.
WEA members across the state are sending messages in support of the House Budget. We encourage you to contact your legislators on non-school time, using your personal email address, and urge them to VOTE NO on the Republican Senate Budget and Support the Democratic HOUSE BUDGET.
Your SVEA Executive board is meeting soon to plan next steps and actions for May and beyond. Please remain alert on how you can make a difference in supporting McCleary Action!