Sunday, January 8, 2012

A positive message . . .
The editorial in Saturday's Seattle Times told the legislators that they need to support the recent court ruling and NOT cut education in the session starting tomorrow. 

The state budget crisis continues. There is no easy money. The Legislature must see the ruling as a strong impetus to speed up education reforms that save money and improve efficiencies. And it should make cost-saving reforms in other parts of government, funneling that money to education.

This is good news, but some of you may not be supportive of other sections of the editorial especially those focused on reviewing whether it makes sense to allow bargaining of contracts (salary) in all districts and a recommendation to remove options in the health care program.  They also believe that the solution to the budget gap will require some new revenue and should not be an all cut budget.

Related to this is an opportunity through the League of Education Voters to sign a petition urging the legislators to NOT cut education.  Once again you may disagree with other positions of this organization, but on the subject of revenue they are pushing for increases not decreases in revenue. 

Let’s face it – we’ve been asking for more school funding for years, and you might think that a petition won’t make a difference. But the political and economic landscape have changed, and even though you are tired and frustrated, this will make a difference. Now is the time for every one of us to act. Sign this petition, and ask your friends to join you.

So, we have some options to consider.  The court ruling provided leverage, but comments from legislators suggest that education may not be immune from continued cuts.

"We cannot simply put a check mark next to one category and walk away," said Carlyle, D-Seattle. "It is simply not possible to balance the budget without courageously putting all spending on the table."

Protecting education funding at the expense of other programs would be devastating to the social safety net, said Sen. Ed Murray, D-Seattle.

Next Monday on our off day a team of TEA, PSE, PTA, and administrators will travel to Olympia to share our message.  What plans do you have to influence the outcome to eliminating the state's budget gap?

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