A budget deal reached by lawmakers in Olympia today cuts teacher pay by 1.9 percent and school administrative staff pay by 3 percent over the next two years.
Teacher unions across the state, who have been protesting the cuts for the past few months, are not happy with the news. They have disagreed with the pay cuts during union negotiations over the last few months.
The pay cuts amount to $179 million and are part of the $4 billion in cuts proposed by lawmakers to plug a $5 billion budget deficit in the state.
According to a prepared statement by House Ways and Means Chairman Ross Hunter that was published in the Seattle Times:
"This isn't the budget any of us would have written, given the choice. But our job is to make the most responsible decisions we can in these tough times. I think we do that in this budget. It is thoughtful and sustainable."Rich Wood, a spokesperson for the Washington Education Association, says that the budget cuts slash well over $2 billion from K-12 and higher education. "This is going to hurt students," he says. "There's going to be severe over-crowding of classrooms, it's going to affect the quality of education. These pay cuts will not let us attract and keep high quality teachers."
Wood says that the budget cuts funding for over 1,000 education jobs. "There are going to be more students next year and fewer teachers," he says. ""The legislature did not really focus on kids when they prepared this budget."