State news roundup for March 30, 2013

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Washington – Gov. Inslee proposes K-12 funding increase, raising revenue

Inslee-budget-164x300Gov. Jay Inslee released his K-12 budget plan Thursday morning. It raises revenue and increases K-12 funding — but continues the suspension of educator salary COLAs. The state Senate may introduce its budget plan next week, followed by the House. Here’s the official WEA statement sent to media:

Educators appreciate Gov. Inslee’s proposal to increase revenue and increase funding for K-12 schools.

Gov. Inslee’s education proposal is a step in the right direction but doesn’t go far enough to fully fund our K-12 schools as required by the Supreme Court’s McCleary decision.

His proposal to fund smaller class sizes for kindergarten and first-grade students in high-poverty schools is a good start, but we need to reduce class sizes for all students, regardless of their family’s income or their grade level. Washington students are packed into the fourth-most overcrowded classrooms in the country.

You can read the complete statement at OurVoiceWashingtonEA.org.

Montana – Voting yes for AFMSU

Tenured faculty at Montana State University Bozeman are voting now on the issue of whether to keep their four-year-old union, the Associated Faculty of MSU (AFMSU). They have 20 days to vote.

Our AFMSU member/leaders are united and working hard side-by-side MEA-MFT, AFT, and NEA staff to keep what we have worked so hard to achieve:  a tenured faculty union at MSU that has in its short life already proven itself enormously worthy. We will prevail.

Union supporters produced this great video about their choice to vote YES for AFMSU.

 

Find out more at MEA-MFT.org.

Colorado – Legislators tackle state budget and new school funding bill

CEAlogoThis week lawmakers began work on the state budget bill, nicknamed the “Long Bill” because it is, well, long. SB 230 is prepared by the six-member Joint Budget Committee, a bipartisan legislative committee which oversees the budget and initiates debate about it in late March every year.

This is the first time in several years that the Legislature actually has money to spend, given that Colorado’s economy continues to recover from the recession and state tax revenues are growing. How much of the new money will go to P-12 public education? We’ll see.

Last week the Senate Education Committee reviewed Senate Bill 213, the “Future School Finance Act,” sponsored by Sens. Michael Johnston (D-Denver) and Rollie Heath (D-Boulder), as well as Rep. Millie Hamner (D-Dillon). The committee amended the bill and sent it to the full Senate for an April 1 hearing.

Visit ColoradoEA.org to find out more about the new state budget.

Pennsylvania – Corbett administration continues to mislead on pension issue

Pennsylvania-PSEA-logo 6-2-12Gov. Tom Corbett’s administration renewed efforts to persuade news media that the governor’s ill-conceived changes proposed to current public workers’ pensions would not violate the state Constitution.

PSEA President Mike Crossey commented on the Corbett administration’s March 27 briefing for reporters.

“Saying something is constitutional doesn’t make it true, regardless of the number of media events the governor’s office orchestrates.

“Here are the facts. Gov. Corbett’s pension proposal would change benefits for current employees. Pennsylvania’s Constitution doesn’t allow this, and Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court has issued clear opinions rejecting unconstitutional approaches nearly identical to what the governor is proposing today.

“The governor’s plan is bad policy because not only does it fail to solve the problem of the Commonwealth’s pension debt, it also adds costs to taxpayers and presents serious constitutional problems,” Crossey said.

To find out more about the pension fight in Pennsylvania, visit PSEA.org.

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