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Tag: Kathy Haigh


Could branch campuses like UW Tacoma be targeted for closure?

A state lawmaker is eying the University of Washington and Washington State University branch campuses in Tacoma, Bothell, Spokane, the Tri-Cities and Vancouver.

It seems like a long shot with lawmakers taking baby steps toward a new campus in Snohomish County, and it’s sure to meet resistance from local lawmakers in the various communities, but Rep. Kathy

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Teacher pay remains on chopping block

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

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Legal challenge possible on cut to alternative education

A lawsuit is brewing over the Legislature’s proposed cuts to online learning and other non-school-based education, which supporters say is part of students’ right to basic eduction under the state constitution and can’t legally be reduced.

But lawmakers may be backing away from those cuts.

School districts can claim basic-education funding for so-called Alternative Learning Experiences that mainly happen away from their campuses. House budget writers have proposed cutting that ALE money by 20 percent, saying the programs need less money per student than do traditional brick-and-mortar schools with secretaries and custodians. The Senate countered with a 10 percent cut.

Former Rep. Gigi Talcott of the group Washington Families for Online Learning warned in a news release that cutting the basic education of more than 50,000 students in ALE programs is “unprecedented and sets the state up for another legal challenge.” She was in Olympia this week showing lawmakers an analysis by the attorney she has retained, Steve O’Ban, saying lawmakers risked a constitutional challenge.

O’Ban said a lawsuit is “on the table” if the funding cut goes through. Read more »


Teachers ask legislators to end graduation requirements and cut class sizes

As the state House of Representatives rolled out its two-year budget complete with $4.4 billion in cuts and reductions, teachers from around the state gathered in Olympia Monday to protest growing class sizes.

A group of about 200 teachers organized by the Washington Education Association came to the Capitol to ask legislators to eliminate the requirement that students pass state tests before they graduate 12th grade and use the money to reduce class sizes in elementary school, a move they said would bolster student performance later on.

“These are incredibly tough economic times and we know that every segment of our state will see cuts, but the worst thing that could happen in these budget cuts would be to do permanent damage to our schools,” said Mary Lindquist, president of the Washington Education Association.

She said finding funding to reduce class sizes in elementary schools would improve student performance and decrease drop out rates, and teachers who attended the protest agreed.

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Shortened school year weighed

With school closures and program eliminations threatened as more state cuts hit already battered school districts, (see Debbie Cafazzo’s weekend story for an overview) one alternative under consideration is holding fewer days of school.

The idea of reducing the mandated 180-day school year, perhaps by three days, is getting some attention in the Legislature. Rep. Kathy Haigh, the top budget writer for education in the House, said it’s the best of many bad ideas.

“I don’t think it’s necessarily the right thing to do, but it might be the fair thing to do,” said Haigh, D-Shelton. “There are those

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Environmentalists sort out ‘champions’ from ‘duds’

An environmental group praises Reps. Skip Priest and Geoff Simpson as “champions” while singling out Reps. Christopher Hurst and Troy Kelley and Sen. Tim Sheldon as “green duds.”

Washington Conservation Voters released its scorecard today, ranking each legislator on their environmental votes in 2009 and 2010 on a scale of 0-100.

South Sound legislators Hurst, Kelley and Sheldon are among five Democrats — the others are Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen and Rep. Tim Probst — who come in for criticism.

Hurst’s and Kelley’s votes in this year’s special session to put energy-efficient upgrades of schools on the ballot weren’t enough to save them from the group’s ire. The Conservation Voters website says Hurst and Kelley earned low 44 percent ratings when they “voted against clean water, against the protection of our shorelines, against energy efficient televisions, and against transit for Pierce County.” They call Hurst’s record “shameful” and “likely (to) backfire on him in the near future” and say Kelley is “severely out of step with both his party and his constituents.”

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Labor has Roadkill Caucus in its headlights

Days before the state’s biggest labor group makes its campaign endorsements, its president has some tough words for centrist Democrats in the Legislature.

The self-styled Roadkill Caucus isn’t even truly centrist, Washington State Labor Council President Rick Bender writes in the council’s newsletter out today:

… this year, something different emerged, masquerading as moderate. It’s a group of Democrats calling themselves the Roadkill Caucus. They espouse a pro-corporate, anti-government agenda. They use the same rhetoric Republicans use about Washington having a horrible business climate, about the need to “reduce government’s footprint,” and even labeling their fellow party members as

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