This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.
The Tacoma School District has long enjoyed a rare degree of community support, as evidenced by successful levies and generous construction funding.
That bond must not be broken lightly – and a potential teachers strike next week threatens to do just that.
Let’s be clear about what led to the tense showdown between Tacoma’s school administrators and teachers.
This isn’t a matter of greedy teachers or callous school officials. A stark conflict was built into their contract talks from the start. District leaders and the Tacoma Education Association are at odds because the Legislature was forced to cut funding for the state’s public schools last spring.
Had the district received money enough to maintain a healthy-sized staff and strong programs – and give teachers the money and small classes they want, everyone would have walked away smiling before now.
Nor are lawmakers the culprits. They were dealt a losing hand by the distressed economy, which forced brutal cuts throughout state government, schools and colleges. The core issue in Tacoma is the core issue everywhere else: The money just ain’t there.
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