Students, teachers and parents flood the capitol steps for education funding

By Harper Thomas, Hawkeye staff

“Students first! Sufficient funds! Students first! Sufficient funds!”

Upwards of 6,500 students, teachers and parents from around Washington flooded the steps of Olympia on Jan. 16 for education funding.

Despite the cold temperatures of the January morning, a buzz of energy and determination filled the air. A poster was held in nearly every hand, displaying a range of challenging and powerful phrases.

These citizens were determined to remind the legislature of the 2012 Washington State Supreme Court ruling to amply fund education for students, grades K-12. Full funding of student education would bring new teachers, higher salaries and school supplies to all districts. And due to the shortage of staff, salary and materials, those present at the march expressed their eagerness for the fulfillment of the funding plan.

MTHS staff including math teacher Nancy Paine, counselor Julie Peterson and science teachers Jonathan Tong and Adam Welman were amongst the crowd.

Along with them, Edmonds Education Association president Andi Nofzinger represented the Edmonds School District in the march.

“We need to draw the public’s attention,” Nofzinger stated. “This is the year the Supreme Court obligated to fully fund education, so we need to put the pressure on them.”

Nofzinger and Mountlake Terrace staff have participated in marches like this before. In 1999 and 2001, marches were held as well but unfortunately yielded no change in the legislature. Participants in this year’s march expressed their eagerness to have positive results and get the funding they’ve been fighting for.

“Unfortunately, Washington state has not made good on its constitutional promises,” said Summer Stinson, vice president of Washington’s Paramount Duty organization.

Paramount Duty is a group of parents and teachers who work to gain the promised funds from the state.

“Washington’s check to its children has come back marked ‘insufficient funds’… Our constitution promises every child an amply funded public education,” Stinson continued. “We, like Dr. King, refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt.”
With the passionate leadership from parents and teachers of Washington’s students, all eyes will be on the legislature and their decision. The pressure is on to make and implicate their decision within the next year, as promised by 2018.