Rep. Liz Pike (R-Camas) and Sen. Ann Rivers (R-La Center) recently announced that a public meeting will be held Friday, July 5, in Camas.
It’s a meeting that is likely to be well attended, in the wake of an ”open letter to public educators” posted on Facebook by Pike on June 21. The message criticized public school teachers for complaining about state legislators suspending cost of living increases.
“Congratulations on enjoying your last day of the school year,” Pike’s letter begins. “If I had the opportunity to choose my career all over, I would have opted to get the necessary degree and teaching certificate so that I too could enjoy summertime off with my children, spring break vacations, Christmas break vacations, paid holidays, a generous pension and health insurance benefits.
“Instead, I chose to work a career in private sector business so that I could be one of those taxpayers who funds your salaries and benefits as a state employee in a local school district.”
The message goes on to suggest that teachers who are unhappy with their current pay and benefits package should find other employment.
“If you are uninspired because of the lack of a cost of living increase, I encourage you to speak with your neighbors who work in the private sector,” the letter continues. “Ask them when was the last time they were guaranteed pay increases that were not based on performance standards. Furthermore, teachers who are dissatisfied with their pay and benefits should look for work elsewhere so that someone who is inspired to greatness can take their place in the classroom. Our children deserve an exceptional and inspired teacher in every classroom. Don’t you agree?”
Pike’s opinion piece has drawn widespread response, both in support of and against her comments.
The July 5 town hall will take place from 4 to 6 p.m. at Pike’s legislative district office, at 415 N.E. Cedar St. in downtown Camas.
According to a press release about the meeting, Pike and Rivers are expected to provide an overview of the 2013 regular and special legislative sessions, as well as answer questions and concerns from 18th District residents.
“I’m excited to speak with constituents about what we’ve been working on in Olympia,” said Pike. “Our goal has always been to pass a sustainable budget which meets the state’s paramount duty to provide for public education without raising taxes on working Washington families.”
The regular session adjourned April 28. The first special session adjourned June 11. The second special session ended June 29.