McCleary, school funding, and teacher salaries
McCleary, school funding, and teacher salaries
Posted on 08/27/2018

McCleary, school funding, and teacher salaries: What others are saying

In coming days, you will hear many different points of view regarding the McCleary decision and its impact on teacher salaries. In this easy-to-read format we provide some common questions with answers found from a variety of sources, including the Puyallup School District Board of Directors.

Why are other school districts able to offer higher raises for teachers?

Washington State Schools Superintendent Chris Reykdal’s interview with MYNorthwest

“And districts were treated very differently,” Reykdal said. “There are some contracts that are coming out and really significant increases for teachers and the districts have resources. There are other districts who just simply didn’t get that kind of resource and it’s going to get a little bit tense over the next couple weeks as that becomes a reality.” Scott, Hanna (2018, August 15). Superintendent asks for patience amid potential teacher strikes, and districts figure out funding. Retrieved from http://mynorthwest.com/1081795/reykdal-teacher-strikes-funding-2018/?

Tacoma Public Schools Superintendent Carla Santorno’s letter to the Tacoma News Tribune Editorial Board

“In the new law, districts with an average teacher salary below the state average can give big salary increases. But districts such as Tacoma, which already have an average salary above the state average, are limited by the law to no more than a 3.1 percent increase for the 2018-2019 school year.” Santorno, Carla (2018, August 18). State reduces Tacoma schools to financial losers. Retrieved from https://www.thenewstribune.com/opinion/article216808465.html

Didn’t the McCleary decision provide millions of dollars specifically for teacher salary increases?

Seattle Times Editorial Board

“Because those local school district property-tax levies are set to go down starting in January 2019, not all of the added state money coming to districts is actually available for teacher salary increases – at least, not beyond next year . . . Teachers can expect raises this year – just not double-digit ones.” Seattle Times editorial board (2018, August 17). Local school districts should stick to a basic principle as they renegotiate contracts with their teachers unions: Don’t bargain away money you don’t have.  Retrieved from https://www.seattletimes.com/opinion/editorials/unsustainable-teacher-raises-risk-new-school-funding-crisis/

Why does the Puyallup School District Board of Directors talk about sustainability so much?

Washington State Schools Superintendent Chris Reykdal’s interview with MYNorthwest

“I actually am more worried that districts feel like they have some fund balance right now to play with and that absolutely will not be the case a year from now when they are fully into the new [McCleary] model,” [Reykdal] added.“ So the bargaining environment is harder right now the actual fiscal reality, I think, hits a lot more in years three and four.” Scott, Hanna (2018, August 15). Superintendent asks for patience amid potential teacher strikes, and districts figure out funding. Retrieved from http://mynorthwest.com/1081795/reykdal-teacher-strikes-funding-2018/?

Seattle Times Editorial Board

“To avoid returning to a broken system, districts must hold the line when it comes to negotiating teachers’ raises, and not award more than they can afford. To do anything else is simply irresponsible.” Seattle Times editorial board (2018, August 17). Local school districts should stick to a basic principle as they renegotiate contracts with their teachers unions: Don’t bargain away money you don’t have.  Retrieved from https://www.seattletimes.com/opinion/editorials/unsustainable-teacher-raises-risk-new-school-funding-crisis/

What do the Puyallup School District Board of Directors say?

“Thank you for showing up and for showing your passion. We love your passion and passion for the students. We made the 7.3 percent raise last year when it was fiscally responsible to do it. And this year, we’d love to be able to offer a higher increase but it needs to be sustainable. The Puyallup School District got a raw deal. We didn’t anticipate having that big of a levy hit, and that little marginal increase compared to everyone else.” Puyallup School Board Director Michael Keaton (2018, August 20). Puyallup School District Board of Education meeting.

“The narrative that we don’t care about you is ridiculous. . . You are valued community members – valued friends of ours. If you want someone else up here to recommend what is not wise for this district, go vote for somebody else. You can elect a board that will go do something and be detrimental to this district - I’m not that guy. I’m going to use my vote to do what is best for the district.” Puyallup School Board Director Dane Looker (2018, August 20). Puyallup School District Board of Education meeting.

“We do love you. We do appreciate you. I believe in advocacy for all of our kids. I’m a steward of their future. I will not vote for something that I don’t think is going to sustain us for the long term. I will vote for what is right not just today but for our future.” Puyallup School Board Director Maddie Names (2018, August 20). Puyallup School District Board of Education meeting.

“McCleary did pump in a lot of money into education, but not in a fair way. Teachers impact for a lifetime - I truly believe that, and we want good teachers. We do appreciate you. We want to give teachers what you deserve. We will do the absolute best we can to take care of everybody.”  Puyallup School Board President Kathy Yang (2018, August 20). Puyallup School District Board of Education meeting.

What does the superintendent say?

“Sustainability is something we are all working on here, not just for the 1,350 people represented today – there are 2,300 other employees to look after. The reality is this is a complex problem and we want to do the very best we can for everybody - teachers, other employees, for our kids. Where the discrepancies in the McCleary decision has left us in the state of Washington is not optimal - not ideal - not really fair - but it is what it is. And that’s what we have to deal with. So we will continue to do the very best we can. We will not commit to something we can’t sustain. We will continue to bargain in good faith and make offers we can sustain.” Superintendent Tim Yeomans (2018, August 20). Puyallup School District Board of Education meeting.