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Some WA Legislators Backing Gov. Inslee’s Call for $200 Million for Education – Teacher Pay Bumps

Legislators in House considering more money for education
(washington state legislative website)

As the legislature gets under way for 2014, Gov. Jay Inslee says he wants to appropriate $200 million more for K-12 education.

The plan would include a COLA, or Cost of Living Increase for educators.  It would be a 1.3% increase.   Supporters stress it’s not a pay increase, but a measure that would allow teachers pay to stay more current with rising living costs.

Inslee’s plan, supported in the state House by a wide variety of legislators,  would reinstate the COLA for 2014.  As part of a budget and cost cutting measure in an effort to deal with the state’s billion dollar deficit,  Republican and Democratic leaders agreed to suspend the voter-approved cost-of-living increases last year.

Among the legislators who support the COLA and money for education include Richland’s Larry Haler, and Gary Condatta of East Wenatchee, both Republicans.  The state House is controlled by the Democrats.

The plan could run into opposition in the Senate, where the Coalition (23 GOP and 2 Democratic leaders) are wary of the “revenue enhancements” or taxes, that might be required to help pay for it.   The Senate leaders were looking at a variety of options including what is called differential pay, or potential increases, for certain teaching specialities.

It is not known if the legislation, sponsored by Rep. Hans Dunshee of Snohomish, will be given a formal hearing or come to a vote of approval in the House, but it does have the signatures of 49 Representatives who say they support it.


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