With summer coming to a close and the new school year right around the corner, many students and parents are busy getting ready for the new year to begin. While families focus on back to school shopping and coordinating schedules to prepare for school, many teachers are going on strike, putting a wrench in these plans. After the Washington Legislature restructured how schools are funded in 2017, teachers unions are still up in arms, and preventing students from going back to school.
Liv Finne, the education policy director for Washington Policy Center, was on the Dori Monson show earlier this week and explained that “with teachers from 15 school districts around the state voting to strike, the teachers union is ‘using strikes to intimidate districts into providing these pay increases that they cannot afford…’” Liv goes on to say that “the strikes will affect one in five public school students in the state — a total of 200,000 kids.”
The teachers are striking for significant wage increases. What these teachers aren’t explaining is that if they get what they are asking for, it will end up costing the taxpayers more money. Thanks to the McCleary legislation passed in 2017, the state is spending a lot more money on education than they were in the past. At the same time, schools are still being funded by old local levies for 2018. Part of the McCleary legislation required these local levies to be strictly limited, starting in January of 2019. So right now, there is an abundance of money that teacher unions are trying to take advantage of before it dries up. The problem is, when this “levy cliff” takes hold in 2019, these wage increases will fall on to the backs of taxpayers, who already feel the strain from increased property taxes, an increased sales tax, car tab fees, and more.
Ultimately, these illegal teacher strikes are just another money-grab attempt by the local teacher unions. Taxpayers will be asked to bear the burden when the local levy money dries up in January of 2019. You can be assured that the Democrats in the Legislature will again start pushing for a state income tax.