Thursday, May 07, 2009

"What's the urgency?" asks Kessler; layoffs loom

Lynn Kessler (D-Hoquiam) said something today for reasons I can't fathom. Asked about the now defunct special session, which would have brought back a levy lid lift bill that could literally save thousands of teaching jobs, Kessler stated, "“What’s the urgency?”

Is that a joke, Representative Kessler? Districts have until May 15th to issue RIF notices to the teachers who might have otherwise kept their jobs, or to ax other programs and personnel in order to keep teachers onboard, now that the levy lid lift is doomed.

Even if a solution magically arises by September, when Kessler thinks the legislature can return to action as if nothing is wrong, it'll be too late for the thousands of mostly young teachers who've lived in limbo, or left the profession.

It's not as if Kessler couldn't know better. Hoquiam isn't exactly flying above the storm:
The Hoquiam School Board authorized layoff notices to the equivalent of 10.6 teachers Wednesday night in its first crack at dealing with a higher-than-expected $1.3 million revenue shortfall to its current $20 million operating budget.

Other budget reducing options the board is considering include elimination of the high school girl’s swimming team, the Young Authors and Math Olympiad programs, the middle school drama program and all elementary sports. Also being considered is the elimination of six full-time support staff workers and the reduction of hours for even more workers.

“We’re also closing a school,” School Board member Judy Morgan said, referring to the impending closure of Washington Elementary at the end of the year.
No urgency, Representative Kessler? Really?

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