Local legislators show support for striking teachers

Education
Teacher_strikes_continue_in_SW_Washingto_1_20180831001210

VANCOUVER, Wash. (KOIN) — Class was canceled again on Friday for school districts in Vancouver, Evergreen, Washougal, Battle Ground, Hockinson, Ridgefield and Longview as teachers continue to strike.

All the districts have offered teachers raises, but the teachers say they deserve a bigger portion of the millions of dollars that the Washington state Supreme Court mandated by spent on schools.

Districts continue to bargain while teachers are out on the picket lines once again with horns honking in support.

“To see this kind of support really hits home and it means a great deal,” Monica Stonier, state representative and Evergreen Education Association member, said.

As a former middle school teacher, current instructional coach, EEA member and a state legislator, Stonier understands all sides of the strike.

“While I might have more understanding, patience and perspectives in all parties involved, we sent money for salaries,” she said.

Like other local legislators who worked on fulfilling the McCleary decision to fund basic education, Stonier stresses that part of the $2.3 billion from the state was supposed to go to increasing teacher salaries.

State Rep. Sharon Wylie also represents Washington’s 49th district.

“I believe that they have the absolute right to ask for more compensation and it was our intent to give them more compensation,” Wylie said.

She and Stonier both admitted that the McCleary fix wasn’t perfect, which is causing problems with negotiations across the state. After years of not receiving cost of living raises, Stonier said teachers have recognized the funding has come.

Legislators said better compensation will allow districts to attract and retain quality teachers in their classrooms.

“This is work that is going to keep going on,” Wylie said. “We can’t stop, this is the beginning, not the end.”

Negotiations are expected to continue throughout the Labor Day weekend, but Rep. Stonier doesn’t think a resolution will come as quickly as it has throughout the rest of the state. Mediators are spread thin, so some of the stalling is not a matter of people unwilling to come together, but a matter of a lack of resources.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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