Gov. Jay Inslee Approves Salary Increases for Teachers
Gov. Jay Inslee recently signed a bill into law that would increase salaries for K-12 educators.
Engrossed Senate Bill proposes to increase salaries at 3.7%. Program supervisors and instructors would make a minimum of $72,728 a year, administration $107,955 a year, and classified staff (paras, office staff, custodians) would receive $52,173 a year.
This bill would provide an additional 1.5 percent adjustment on top of the 2.2 percent salary increase teachers would receive through state law.
Salary increases total to approximately $1 billion and will go into effect in the 2024-25 school year.
Throughout the legislative process, nearly all of our regional lawmakers voted against the bill, including Senators Brad Hawkins, Shelley Short, and Judy Warnick, along with Representatives Keith Goehner, Jacquelin Maycumber, Joel Kretz, Tom Dent, and Alex Ybarra.
Representative Mike Steele was the only local lawmaker who did not vote against the bill, who was excused during the house committee vote.
Sen. Brad Hawkins is a Ranking Member on the Early Learning & K-12 Education committee and sits on the Higher Education & Workforce Development committee.
In an email response, Hawkins wrote that the 2023-2025 operating budget doesn’t do enough to improve K-12 education.
“The state has an unfortunate history of spending more and more each year, making adjustments that significantly increase spending levels, but don’t substantially improve education for kids,” Hawkins said.
Education spending was increased by approximately $3 billion, going towards inflation adjustments, funding for special education, and transportation.
“Very little of the new spend is directed to helping children improve their academics or increasing school days or instructional time,” Hawkins said.
During this year’s legislative session, Hawkins filed two bills geared towards education, SB 5505, which proposes to expand the school year and SB 5670, that would permit 10th grade students to participate in Running Start online.
Both bills died in the Senate committee.
Hawkins said he would rather see the money invested in other things, such as tutoring or addressing learning loss brought on by the pandemic.
Hawkins also said that teachers already receive a cost of living adjustment (COLA) of over two percent and that’s why he voted against it.
Rep. Keith Goehner said that he was supportive of the COLA given to educators, but did not support the extra funds that educators received through this bill.
“Based on where our budget is, and where the teachers are, we are one of the highest paid teacher salaries in the nation,” Goehner said. “I think that we really do need to make sure that we've really prioritized our investments in education well.”
According to Salary.com, Washington state teachers make between $50,241 and $73,370 a year.
According to ZipRecruiter, Washington state residents would need to make $50,039 a year in order to live comfortably. That is approximately $24.06 an hour, $962/week, or $4,169/month.
In recent news, President Joe Biden proposed increasing teacher salaries nationally, with U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders pushing a bill that would start an educator’s base pay at $60,000 a year.
The 2023 Legislative Session ends on April 23, 2023.