Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Washington State Schools Lose $13.2 Million Over Union Laws

What with the economy in a downturn, the state budget stretched and needed money hard to come by, who in their right mind would allow a $13.2 million grant to schools to be slip through their fingers? Washington State, that’s who.

Last year Washington State won the $13.2 Million grant from Dallas, Texas based National Math & Science Initiative (NMSI). The grants intent was to assist schools with their Advanced Placement programs in math and science that would allow students to earn college credit while still in high school by providing “teacher training and coaching, tutoring for students, materials and equipment, and incentives for teachers and students.”

A snag occurred in the grant when NMSI said they would spend 22 percent of the grant on “merit pay for teachers based on their participation and performance in the program.” Washington State Laws requires all money going to teachers to go through the Collective bargaining process with the Washington Education Association, the teachers union. NMSI desired to pay teachers directly.

State Rep. Bill Fromhold, Democrat from Washington’s 49th Legislative District, who resigned his legislative post as of next year so he could help administer the grant said,

Washington’s collective bargaining laws require that teacher pay be negotiated between teachers unions and school districts.”

Unable to find middle ground, negotiations broke down and NMSI withdrew the $13.2 Million grant. Fromhold added,
it had to do with how teachers would be paid for the time they spent in training, and how they would receive incentives for how well students scored on AP exams. We worked hard to try to find middle ground, but at the end of the day we got caught in the middle of the grant requirements and the collective bargaining laws in the state of Washington that have to be followed.”

He declined to lay blame on either side for the breakdown and withdrawal.

West Seattle High School, one school slated to receive part of the grant originally, had already voted against accepting the grant “in part because of concerns about teachers receiving merit pay for student test scores,” said district spokesman David Tucker.

About 7 schools were listed to receive roughly $114,000 this year, two in Seattle, three in Spokane and two in Vancouver’s Evergreen School District.

NMSI’s CEO Tom Luce said NMSI
understands some states and school districts may have policies that do not accommodate this grant model and we respect those local preferences, this is a voluntary program.”

This blogger, who pays high property taxes that support Washington’s schools, doesn’t understand how union collective bargaining would take precedence over receiving the much needed additional $13.2 Million.

What is understood is that most assuredly property taxes will increase to satisfy union demands for higher pay for union members.

Read more at Evergreen Freedom Foundation

UPDATE: Sonya Jones has an Op Ed appearing in today's Columbian, Union’s stance hurts teachers, students.

When do we stand up and take the education of our children away from the Teachers Union?


Roger W. Gardner said...

Great expose Lew. This is disgusting. They should have fallen all over themselves with gratitude.

LewWaters said...

Everytime they decide to raise taxes, Roger, it's "for the children."

But, when money comes in that "they" can't control, it seems the children no longer matter.

LKnight said...

The problem is a fundemental one. Its called SOCIALISM. It doesn't work, it will never work. Time to break the union as they clearly are not representing the best interests of the kids, teachers and the public. As a Washington taxpayer don't look to me for any votes for education initiatives. What this state needs is a good dose of conservative politics.

LewWaters said...

We need Dino Rossi, Lou.