Opinion: Join teachers May 15 in taking stand to fully fund basic education

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Dear Neighbors:

You’ve undoubtedly heard about the one-day strikes in districts around our state to protest the legislature’s failure to fully fund the costs of basic education, as well as its continued defiance of the State Supreme Court. I’m sure you’re wondering if and when this type of action will come to the Edmonds School District. I want to let you know that at this time the approximately 1,500 certificated educators in the Edmonds School District will not be striking.

However, our decision to not close schools for a day does not mean we aren’t as frustrated and angry with our state lawmakers as our colleagues around the state. We are angry that Washington continues to rank near the bottom of our nation in every important measure of school funding: 40th in the nation in per pupil funding; 47th in the nation in class size; and 42nd in the nation in teacher compensation. Despite the 2012 State Supreme Court ruling that the legislature is violating its “paramount” duty to amply fund the education of all K-12 students, and despite the Court’s ruling last September that the legislature was in “contempt” for failing to make adequate progress toward fully funding schools, and despite the voters passing Initiative 1351 in November to ensure that all our children have reasonable class sizes, the Washington legislature continues to shirk its paramount duty. Currently, the House and Senate are deliberating on school funding. All current proposals fall short of creating reasonable class sizes, providing adequate supplies and materials for our teachers and students, and paying educators professional wages and benefits. Year after year, our children and teachers bear the burden of the legislature’s refusal to make education funding a priority in our state.

The educators in Edmonds are not striking at this time for two reasons. First, our local legislators in the 21st, 1st, and 32nd legislative districts are supportive of teachers, students, and increased school funding; we cannot directly impact the “no” votes with a one-day strike. Second, and more importantly, we are keenly aware of the impact of closing schools on our community. We are grateful that you continually support us at the ballot box when we run bonds and levies, as just over 20 percent of our district budget comes from our local voters. We could not safely open the doors of our schools without you! We are grateful that you recognize our importance in your children’s lives through providing us with supplies, support, and smiles in your neighborhood schools.

Instead of closing schools for a day, on Friday, May 15, from 3:30 – 5:30 p.m. we will be picketing at 6 locations in our school district. We want this to be a community event, with educators, administrators, parents, and students standing together to demand that the legislature follow the order of the Supreme Court and fully fund basic education in Washington State. We are asking you to support us by standing with us as we participate in a public demonstration against the legislature. Please make a sign and add your voice by joining us at one of the following locations:

  • 100th Avenue West and Highway 104 in Edmonds
  • 196th and Highway 99 in Lynnwood
  • 196th and 44th Avenue West in Lynnwood
  • 196th and Alderwood Mall Parkway in Lynnwood
  • 220th and Highway 99 in Lynnwood
  • 168th and Highway 99 in Lynnwood

 

Our children will not have a second chance at their K-12 education, so join the educators of Edmonds in taking a stand for the resources our children need to be successful in school! The time to act is now!

Sincerely,

Andi Nofziger-Meadows
President
Edmonds Education Association

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