I was unable to testify at last Monday’s House Appropriations committee hearing on HB 1843/SB 5607 because I was snowed in. Below is what I sent to committee members after the hearing which captures what I would have said on behalf of PSE’s 30,000 classified employees had I been at the hearing:
PSE signed in support of both bills because each of them have positive impacts on classified school employees.
What we like in 1843:
• Increasing the classified employee salary allocation
• Professional development for classified employees
What we would like to see changed in 1843:
• Change the classified employee basic education funding formula so that the state, not local levies, are paying for 5,000 classified employee FTEs (see this chart).
• Change levy system to promote levy equity
What we like in 5607:
• The state will be fully funding classified employee services (5,000 FTE are currently funded by local levies)
• Implementing a comprehensive paraeducator development program
• More flexibility to hire paraeducators as teachers
• Housing allowance includes classified employees
• Implements the 3:1 insurance payment ratio so that employees with families pay $3 for every $1 a single employee pays
• Levy changes that promote levy equity
What we would like to see changed in 5607:
• 3 year implementation of 3:1 insurance ratio so that in the first year it would be 5:1, second year, 4:1, and third year, 3:1.
• Use the Seattle CPI (consumer price index) as the inflation index rather than the National IPD (implicit price deflator).
• Include an insurance inflation factor that reflect premium increases.
• The requirement that school expenses for compensation not go beyond 80% will harm classified employees since teachers will consume whatever capacity school districts have to spend money. Change this so that classified employees are not left out of staffing, salary, or benefit capacity.
Yesterday, the Appropriations committee voted 1843 out of committee on a partisan vote of 18-15.