State Budget
8:44 am
Wed April 13, 2011

Senate proposes pay cut for school employees

Teachers and other public school employees in Washington could face a 3% pay cut. That’s one of the key cost-saving measures contained in the State Senate’s two-year budget proposal. It was unveiled late Tuesday.

State employees have already agreed to a 3% wage cut through reduced work hours. Now the Washington State Senate would extend that pay cut to public school employees – including teachers. It remains unclear how a reduction in pay and hours would work in schools. Senate Budget Chair Ed Murray, a Democrat, says a shorter school year it not a viable option, so he’s working on a proposal:

“That would offer an ability for school districts to offer furlough days.”

But lead Republican budget-writer Joe Zarelli is wary of the furlough approach:

“I don’t know how you give somebody a day off and then back-fill with a substitute for less money. I don’t know.”

While Murray and Zarelli disagree on this detail, they co-wrote the Senate budget in a rare display of bipartisanship. The Senate budget would cut deeper than the House budget passed last Saturday.

Senate leaders reduced their budget under heavy security. A dozen or more State Troopers were on hand. Last week, troopers arrested protestors outside the Governor’s office. On Saturday, the State Patrol forcibly removed protestors who had camped out for several nights in the Capitol Rotunda.