As of May 7, teachers in 40 school districts across Washington state had voted to participate in one-day walk-outs to send a message to legislators in Olympia regarding education funding. Among those districts was the Sultan School District, and as of Monday, May 11, teachers in the Monroe School District voted to join them.
As a result, school will be cancelled at both the Monroe and Sultan school districts on Friday, May 15. For the Sultan School District, this means that rather than Thursday, June 11, the last day of school will be Friday, June 12. For Monroe, this means that rather than Monday, June 15, the last day of school will be Tuesday, June 16.
Standing up to the Legislature
The decision to hold a walk-out was made by the each district's education association. The Monroe Education Association voted on Monday, May 11. The Sultan Education Association voted last week.
"SEA leaders are very clear that this potential action is not directed at Sultan Public Schools or at our supportive Sultan community,GÇ¥ wrote Sultan School District Superintendent Dan Chaplik in a letter addressed to families. "Their purpose is to apply political pressure on legislators to do what is right for our children.GÇ¥
Teachers associations across the state are participating in walk-outs and rallies as a way of protesting slow action by the state Legislature in fully funding K-12 public education. Per the Washington state constitution, "it is the paramount duty of the state to make ample provision for the education of all children residing within its borders, without distinction or preference on account of race, color, caste or sex.GÇ¥
Attention was first brought to this matter in 1977, when a judge ruled that the state was in violation of its constitutional obligation and that school districts were relying too heavily on levies. The legislature responded by passing the Basic Education Act, which outlined exactly what the state would pay for in terms of K-12 education. They also implemented the Levy Lid Act, which limited levies to 10 percent of a school district's general fund revenue.
Since then, legislators have raised the levy lid, and levies are again being used to pay for a significant portion of the costs in many school districts. In some cases, levy funds are even being used to pay teacher salaries.
In 2007, the McCleary case alleged that the state was again not fulfilling its constitutional obligation regarding K-12 education. In 2010, King County Superior Court Judge John Erlick agreed that the state was in violation of its mandated constitutional obligation. Legislation was passed which helped establish a fully state-funded "prototypical school modelGÇ¥ that would remedy deficiencies in the K-12 funding system and allow for education to be funded without the use of levies.
Additional legislation was passed which committed to funding several parts of the prototypical model.
The state appealed the McCleary decision, and in 2012, the Washington state Supreme Court upheld Erlick's ruling that the state was in violation of its constitutional obligation.
While progress was made during the 2013 GÇô 2015 biennium budget, with an additional billion dollars of funding allocated to K-12 education, last fall the Supreme Court ruled that the state was in contempt of court for failing to comply with a court order to submit a plan for funding the prototypical model by the 2017 GÇô 2018 school year. If the plan is not submitted by the end of the 2015 session, sanctions could be imposed.
"We share their concern about the state Legislature and have spoken to our local legislators about the needs of public schools and the state's paramount duty to adequately fund education,GÇ¥ Chaplik wrote. "Stakeholders who wish to join the effort should contact their legislators.GÇ¥
Sports, lunch still in session
An automated call was sent out by Monroe Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Ken Hoover informing Monroe families about the walk-out. All athletic events and practices will be held as scheduled, and a free meal will be provided to school age children from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Frank Wagner Elementary (115 Dickinson Road).
"We appreciate that the MEA has been clear that the walkout is not a protest against our school district, students, families or our community,GÇ¥ Hoover said. "It is rather a way they have chosen to show solidarity with their colleagues across the state and send a message to legislators about the importance of adequate educational funding.GÇ¥
Skykomish School District teachers voted against holding a one-day walk-out, and instead will participate in a day-of-action that will take place later this month. The details of what exactly the day-of-action will look like will be discussed later this week.
For more information on the Monroe Public Schools walk-out, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on the Sultan Public Schools walk-out, please call: 360-793-9800. -á
Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.
Sign in to comment