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Mon November 28, 2011
Teachers across state to protest budget cuts as special session begins
Teachers across the state plan to protest cuts to public schools on the first day of the legislature’s special session to shore up the budget.
Hundreds of educators will rally in Olympia on Monday, Nov. 28. Even more teachers will deliver their concerns virtually.
Since it's a school day, they’re sending text messages and emailing photos of supporters wearing red “for ed.”
Rich Wood, spokesman for the Washington Education Association, says the goal is to get lawmakers to protect public education:
“We’ve already cut $2.5 billion from public schools," he says. "And our kids are packed into overcrowded classrooms. They’re missing out on opportunities to get a well rounded education. So, we want to make sure the legislature, the governor and the public know that we need to look at other alternatives.”
He says the “other alternative” educators support is raising taxes instead of slashing school budgets.
Governor Chris Gregoire has proposed doing both. Her plan includes giving less money to districts that haven’t maxed out their local levies and slicing four days from the school year. She says some of those cuts can be avoided if lawmakers agree to temporarily raise the sales tax or bring in revenue some other way.
Kim Mead, a teacher who's on release to head up the Everett Education Association, says schools need a "realistic" solution and that has to include all options for raising revenue:
"Our kids can't take anymore cuts," she says. "They are, quite frankly, cut to the bone. We're going to be left with nothing."