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State's teacher salary freeze is unfair | Letters
Washington state is facing a $5 billion-plus shortage in the budget. There are many reasons why we have gotten to this place, but sadly, here we are and now we have to scramble to fix it. A proposal has been made to fix this mess, and sadly, it is one of the worst proposals I have ever seen.
One of the cutbacks that concerns me the most is a salary freeze for Washington state’s K-12 teachers. Looking in from the outside, this may not seem like such a terrible thing. But if you look a little further, what this really means is a lot of broken promises, misleading, lying and, most of all, sending a message to our children that furthering your education does not pay off.
Here’s what this “freeze” means to me and my family. My husband has spent the last year working incredibly hard on getting his master’s degree. He is a teacher in the Federal Way School District and as things have been, furthering your education and getting a master’s degree moves you up on the pay scale as a teacher.
We have spent thousands and thousands of dollars on this degree. Just as he is supposed to graduate this summer is when the freeze is supposed to take effect. We and many other teachers and their families took on this challenge and sacrifice of further education with the promise of a raise that would eventually help to pay back the cost. Many families have carefully planned and counted this into their budgets.
At the drop of a hat, this can all be taken away. Many people would not have taken on this financial and untimely burden if they could have even fathomed this promise to be broken. It’s completely unfair and a terrible injustice.
Teachers who give so much and are compensated so little seem yet again to be the ones taking the brunt of this shortage. People seem to think that teachers are compensated with all of these great benefits and such to make up for some of this, but that is another non-truth and another thing that is proposed to be cut even more.
Health insurance for teachers is another thing proposed for a cutback. As a family of three, we would be edging on $600-plus a month for health insurance with large deductibles. That is with things just as they are. Any more cuts to this would be insane.
Insurance rates for all of us are expensive and fluctuate. Many families face this issue, but the salary freeze is the thing that sickens me the most. People have been misled by these promises and are now being told sorry...we lied. Please write, call or fax your local legislator. They will be voting on this soon and they need to be aware of what is going on here. The big problem here is our own Gov. Christine Gregoire — let’s call her too. She will for sure be hearing for me, by email, phone, fax and Facebook. State Sens. Karen Keiser (D-Kent) and Tracey Eide (D-Federal Way) also need to hear what we have to say.
As long as we sit and do nothing, the more we get walked on and the more things stay the same. This is the example that we should be setting for our children. The future is in our hands. Stop the freeze and show our children that not only does education matter and does pay off, but that doing what is right is equally important.
Megan Reid, Kent