Teachers rally for education funding

Educators from area districts demonstrated on May 13

In light of ongoing education discussions and recent teacher walk-outs taking place throughout Washington state, Sen. Ann Rivers and Rep. Brandon Vick will host two town halls Saturday, May 23.

The meetings, which will be held in Battle Ground and Camas, will focus on the Legislature's attempts to ramp up K-12 education funding and the current "rolling" special session.

"We recognize and value the job teachers do and we want to ensure educators have a complete picture of the education funding discussions happening in Olympia," said Rivers, (R-La Center). "Hearing what's on the hearts and minds of teachers is important to keeping the line of communication open between educators and lawmakers. Budget negotiations have been, and continue to be in the teachers' best interests."

The first meeting is from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m., at the Camas Public Library, 625 N.E. Fourth Ave. The second event is from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m., at the Clark County Fire Station at Dollars Corner, 21609 N.E. 72nd Ave.

In light of ongoing education discussions and recent teacher walk-outs taking place throughout Washington state, Sen. Ann Rivers and Rep. Brandon Vick will host two town halls Saturday, May 23.

The meetings, which will be held in Battle Ground and Camas, will focus on the Legislature’s attempts to ramp up K-12 education funding and the current “rolling” special session.

“We recognize and value the job teachers do and we want to ensure educators have a complete picture of the education funding discussions happening in Olympia,” said Rivers, (R-La Center). “Hearing what’s on the hearts and minds of teachers is important to keeping the line of communication open between educators and lawmakers. Budget negotiations have been, and continue to be in the teachers’ best interests.”

The first meeting is from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m., at the Camas Public Library, 625 N.E. Fourth Ave. The second event is from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m., at the Clark County Fire Station at Dollars Corner, 21609 N.E. 72nd Ave.

Employees from the Camas and Washougal school districts joined forces to raise awareness during a teacher walkout day May 13. The demonstration was in protest against the state Legislature for failing to fully fund K-12 education and keep class sizes smaller, among other issues.

Current and former teachers, as well as some classified staff members, congregated at the busy intersection of 192nd Avenue and 34th Street in Camas, where they waved signs at passing motorists, many of whom honked and cheered back.

Leaders from both unions have emphasized that the work stoppage was not directed at the school districts. The Camas Education Association and Washougal Association of Educators voted to approve the walkout at the encouragement of the state teacher’s union, the Washington Education Association.

Due to the missed day for students, the school year will be extended to meet the state requirement of 180 school days.

The last day of school for students will now be Tuesday, June 16, instead of June 15. June 15 will now be a regular school day.

Rep. Liz Pike (R-Camas) noted that while she supports the teachers, she does not support the walkout or reasoning behind it.

“We have amazing teachers throughout the district who work hard and should be paid a living wage for what they do,” she said. “Unfortunately, there’s a lot of misinformation being spread around by their union, the Washington Education Association, regarding funding of K-12 education.”

Pike noted that if approved, the Senate Republican budget proposal would provide a nearly 18 percent increase for education, the largest percentage growth in 25 years.

“I’m very disappointed that the WEA is encouraging illegal teacher strikes by misinforming our teachers about budget proposals,” she said. “I believe these walkouts (were) premature, because proposals are currently being negotiated, and the budget is not settled.”

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