Dear Queen Anne Community:
Last month, the QAE PTSA Legislative Committee visited with our district's legislators in Olympia during a Washington State PTA-organized rally to support our schools. We wanted to share a few things with you from that day:
· We have one of the lowest funded public education systems in the country
· The state funds only 75% of the real cost of a teacher
· So for every teacher the district employs, local dollars have to cover approximately $23K of their salary
· The State doesn’t fund full-day kindergarten, a six-period day for middle and high schoolers, updated textbooks, school transportation, utilities or facilities maintenance.
· Because of these huge gaps in funding, the Seattle district has struggled with over $120M in budget shortfalls over the past three years
· In an effort to balance the books, the district has cut $45M from their operating budget since 2009, resulting in “significant cumulative reductions”
· Unfortunately, there are more cuts coming … the district has a projected $19M budget shortfall for the 2013-14 school year.
· School board representative Sherri Carr and Assistant Superintendent Duggan Harman say we are in a crisis situation, and have been for a number of years.
In response to this, the WA Supreme Court ruled in Jan. 2012 (McCleary vs. State) that the state had an obligation to amply fund basic education, and gave the state till 2018 to meet its obligations.
“IT IS THE PARAMOUNT DUTY OF THE STATE TO MAKE AMPLE PROVISION FOR THE EDUCATION OF ALL CHILDREN RESIDING WITHIN ITS BORDERS....” Washington State Constitution, Article IX, section 1
The big question: will our State’s elected officials obey the Constitution they took an oath to uphold? Everybody in Olympia says they want to meet the McCleary ruling requirements, but so far nothing has happened. Republicans and Democrats differ on how much to fund by
approx. $1 billion.
MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD!
We must continue to put pressure on legislators so that they will find a way to properly fund education. The Legislature is currently in session, and is working right now on the 2013-14 public education budget.
Please consider sending a letter to your legislators to remind them that amply funding public education is of paramount importance.
Click here to use a pre-written letter (posted at the bottom of the WSPTA page), edit it yourself, or write your own. Including personal stories helps legislators better represent you (and your kids), so include those in the letter, if you can.
Click here to find contact information for your legislators.
Please let us know if you have questions or thoughts.
QAE PTSA Legislative Co-Chairs
Tanea Stephens (email@example.com) and Angie Masco (firstname.lastname@example.org
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