Budget writers and Gov. Chris Gregoire‘s office says a budget deal is close and could come as soon as tonight.
Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown said Friday night that a deal had been reached on K-12 employees’ pay.
She and top budget writers weren’t giving details, but today Rep. Kathy Haigh, D-Shelton, was resigned to seeing a cut to teachers’ salaries, as the Senate had proposed.
The House had preferred to keep salaries the same and freeze teachers’ longevity pay increases.
And Haigh said top budget negotiators had rejected her idea to cut the number of school days by an amount corresponding to salary cuts. That means school districts that can’t convince teachers’ unions to accept the pay cuts would have to make the cuts elsewhere in their budgets.
“There will be a lot of negotiations. There probably will be some strikes, and I don’t think that works very well for kids either,” Haigh said.
Delegates at a Washington Education Association assembly this month voted for a statewide day of action in the next school year if they are pay cuts, and teachers said some local unions would likely choose to strike on that day, even though Attorney General Rob McKenna‘s office has offered legal advice that public-employee strikes are unlawful.