How you can keep Washington’s schools strong — even during a budget crisis

If this is what is happening in Bellevue, imagine what’s happening in the rest of the state:

“This year’s [2009] budget cuts resulted in 60 Bellevue teachers losing their jobs, elimination of all librarians in secondary schools, and larger class sizes for all students. In my school we had to eliminate popular dance and drama classes for middle school kids. Further cuts for next year will eliminate additional electives that provide a well-rounded education for students, and class sizes wi ll get even larger.”

Stephen Miller, sixth-grade teacher

State funding for our public schools has declined dramatically due to unstable funding sources. The 2009‐11 Washington state operating budget sliced approximately $1.5 billion in K‐12 funding and another $500 million from higher education. Even before these cuts, Washington ranked 45th in the nation in per‐pupil investment. These budget cuts already have had an impact on the education our students receive. Public schools across the state are laying off teachers, classroom aides and librarians, and they are eliminating entire programs, including art, music and sports.

There’s a better way: We can fund our schools by closing unfair tax loopholes and identifying new revenue sources to stabilize funding in the short and long term. Click here to tell elected leaders in Olympia to look for budget solutions that don’t cripple public education.

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