Tukwila, WA – The House budget proposal for the 2019-2020 biennium was released today, and it contained a level of investment for Community and Technical Colleges (CTCs) that is subpar enough that it can’t be considered the minimum investment necessary. The state’s funding priorities, particularly on such issues as hard-to-hire faculty, the Washington College Grant (formerly the State Need Grant) and the Working Connections Child Care for Student Parents program, are laudable in themselves, and desperately needed, but do not represent a solid investment in the CTCs.
“Bringing more students through the doors of the colleges is laudable – we support that,” said Karen Strickland, president of AFT Washington. “But if you refuse to invest in the human infrastructure and still expect students to thrive – well, getting these students through the doors does not actually meet the goal of preparing them for careers, when the CTCs rely on 70% adjuncts, pile more work on the few full-time faculty, underpays all employees significantly, and doesn’t provide appropriate counselor support.”
AFT Washington and its locals have been working this legislative session to highlight the serious issue of underfunding in the CTCs, which have seen little to no serious investment since before the Great Recession. The campaign, [Re]Invest In Our Colleges (ROC), has fought to redress that inequity. It’s particularly disheartening to see the House’s proposal given that there is a very solid move to a more progressive system of raising revenue.
AFT Washington members will be in Olympia at the Capitol Building on Wednesday, March 27, at 10 am for informational picketing to urge the legislature to take seriously the concerns of CTC faculty and staff, many of whom work two or more jobs to meet living expenses or are forced out of the profession and communities they love because of poor pay.
Karen Strickland also commented, “After years of stagnant wages, the proposed House budget doesn’t offer a remedy for CTC faculty, classified, and exempt staff.”