UPDATE: Thousands of Seattle teachers and supporters — including contingents from Garfield and NOVA high schools and Stevens and Lowell elementary schools plus plenty of kids who were probably happy to be marching in the street on a sunny day and not in class — rallied in downtown Seattle Tuesday afternoon to call on state lawmakers to improve Washington’s education funding.
With signs calling for a better education budget, smaller class sizes, and reduced spending on standardized testing, the crowd of teachers and supporters marched from Seattle Center to Westlake to call on legislators to better fund Washington schools.
In Olympia, the House and Senate are currently banging out a $1.3 billion and change education budget that would satisfy a court-mandated increase in funding. But even those massive totals won’t be enough to reduce class sizes to meet the requirements of voter approved Initiative 1351.
Senator Jamie Pedersen, a public school parent and Capitol Hill resident, was on hand Tuesday to support the walkout. He said the state’s education funding issues are part of a larger problem stemming from the reinstated 1% cap on property tax increases. Pedersen said the cap has eliminated more than $3 billion in potential funding. “The legislature in the 1970s dedicated the state portion of the property tax to K-12 education,” Pedersen said. “It’s the Tim Eyman initiative at the core of the funding shortage we have right now.”
We’ve posted even more pictures of the walkout rally and march on the CHS Facebook page.
Previous report: Capitol Hill public school teachers — and those who love them — will rally at Garfield High School Tuesday morning before heading to Seattle Center for a rally and march to Westlake as part of a wave of district walkouts across the state to protest education budget cutbacks in Olympia.
There will be no classes for Seattle Public Schools students during Tuesday’s teacher walkout. The City of Seattle is providing day care activities for students at community centers throughout the area.
The state Supreme Court has ordered Washington’s legislature to increase funding for schools by 2019.
Seattle teachers set their walkout for May 19th earlier this month as part of strikes and protests at districts across the state:
The Seattle Education Association (SEA) has voted to join in a statewide action against the legislature to protest the lack of education funding in our state. SEA is the organization of professionals and union that represents teachers in our district. This protest involves a one-day walkout.
SEA represents around 4,000 teachers in the city.