EDUCATION FUNDING: ‘Week of action’ at community colleges

You’ve heard a lot in recent years about K-12 education funding. You haven’t heard as much about postsecondary-education funding. In particular, community and technical college staffers say they’re “frustrated with legislative inaction” and planning a “week of action.” That will include a rally on the South Seattle College (WSB sponsor) campus, near the clock tower at midday Tuesday. That’s one of three “walkout” rallies planned on all three Seattle Colleges campuses by AFT Local 1789, in addition to events including informational picketing at other college campuses around the state. From the announcement:

“We have been advocating all session for a robust investment in the community and technical colleges. Everyone recognizes the value the CTCs bring to individual lives, employers, and the economy,” said Karen Strickland, president of AFT Washington. “What has yet to be taken seriously is the dire need to support the human infrastructure that makes our colleges hum – the people who process financial aid, teach in the classroom, clean the buildings, provide counseling and more – and to make sure students succeed. The economy is strong and the need is great – now is the time to [Re]Invest in Our Colleges!”

At the start of the session, AFT Washington introduced a funding bill, HB 1300, that called for $500 million in permanent funding in the CTCs. That bill did not make it out of committee, but the need for increased funding remains, and faculty and staff are tired of being passed over by the legislature.

The goal of the Week of Action is to send a clear message to legislators: CTC faculty and staff are frustrated with the decade-plus of inaction on investment in the CTCs, and want legislators, as they finalize the budget for the 2019-2021 biennium, to invest in the Community and Technical Colleges.

The SSC organizer says 34th District legislators are “on board” but could still use messages of support as they work to convince their colleagues. Info on how to reach your legislators – about this issue or anything else – is here.

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