With democratic control of the House and Senate, leaders of both chambers are expressing hopes that they will not only finish on time (March 8) but will finish early. Since the last several years have seen one if not up to three extra special sessions, everyone hopes they are right.
Yesterday, I testified in support of Governor Inslee’s supplemental budget. I supported his effort to comply with the Washington Supreme Court’s demand that the State start funding their substantial increase to basic education salaries starting September 1, 2018, not September 1, 2019. Further, I highlighted his addition of $13 million to implement the new SEBB (School Employee Benefit Board) insurance plans for K 12.
Additionally, I highlighted two areas that PSE will be advocating for this legislative session:
—Add $500,000 each year of the two year budget to update general paraeducator training modules and develop special education and transitional bilingual paraeducator professional development training modules.
—Clarify what the legislature meant last year when they passed EHB 2242 with the direction that we can negotiate “district average salary for classified employees” up to the amount of the school district’s state allocation for those salaries. How this is calculated is critical to determining how much we have available to negotiate “market based wages”. For instance, will the average salary be calculated for all classified employees or just basic education employees? If its all classified employee, in most circumstances, we should be able to negotiate higher salary increases.