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The student news site of Mountlake Terrace High School in Mountlake Terrace, Washington.

The Hawkeye

The student news site of Mountlake Terrace High School in Mountlake Terrace, Washington.

The Hawkeye

The student news site of Mountlake Terrace High School in Mountlake Terrace, Washington.

The Hawkeye

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Enough is enough

Teachers from MTHS, Cedar Way Elementary and Brier Terrace M.S. wave signs to oppose education budget cuts at the intersection of 196th and 44th on Nov. 28.
Teachers from MTHS, Cedar Way Elementary and Brier Terrace M.S. wave signs to oppose education budget cuts at the intersection of 196th and 44th on Nov. 28.
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Teachers from MTHS, Cedar Way Elementary and Brier Terrace M.S. wave signs to oppose education budget cuts at the intersection of 196th and 44th on Nov. 28.

A brisk Monday afternoon after Thanksgiving break didn’t stop teachers from waving signs on the intersection of 196th and 44th advocating against additional cuts to the Washington state education budget.

The Washington state legislature began a 30-day special session on Nov. 28 to address the state’s budget shortfalls. The special session has students, teachers and parents fearing additional cuts to the already limited education budget. Teachers and educators in the Edmonds School District took part in a statewide Day of Action to let lawmakers know their sentiments.

“We’re trying to get the message out to the community that our kids and schools have taken too many cuts already and it’s time that they do something about that and stand up for schools,” Edmonds Education Association president Andi Nofziger-Meadows said.

The Day of Action was organized by the Washington Education Association and was made up of various events around the state geared towards getting the attention of lawmakers and garnering the support of local communities. Many teachers went directly to the capitol building to voice their opinions.

From 2:30 p.m. until 5:45 p.m., teachers from MTHS, Cedar Way Elementary and Brier Terrace M.S. gathered to wave signs with messages against education cuts. Teachers from other schools met at different locations to wave signs on busy intersections as well.

“We’re down to the dregs and we were already down to the dregs before the cuts even began, to tell you the truth,” counselor Julie Petterson said.

Despite being ranked among the worst in per-pupil spending, Washington state has still been able to rank in the top 10 in SAT scores among the 50 states. Some teachers believe making cuts to the education budget could be detrimental.

“Think about the challenges of AP classes. You cut three days out of an AP class, there are three days of learning students aren’t getting to get ready for a national test,” history teacher Dory Weber said.

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“I think we do a really great job considering we’re one of the lowest funded states in the nation for education,” Nofziger-Meadows said. “We have great teachers who are committed to doing their jobs and doing the best they can with fewer resources but in the grand scheme of things, we could be doing a lot better.”

Legislators have considered various cuts to make such as eliminating school bus transportation, increasing class sizes, reducing the length of the school year and eliminating certain programs and bonuses. These ideas don’t sit well with teachers, though.

“It’s not good for students. It’s not good for student success,” Weber said. “More and more families need help from schools but we can’t give them the help they need if we cut services like transportation and food programs.”

There are differing views on how to solve the budgeting problem and it will not be an easy feat. Petterson does not think cuts should be made and “would develop a viable revenue stream. No cuts. We need something that is sustainable and progressive.”

Washington state governor Christine Gregoire has proposed $1.8 billion in government cuts as well as a half-cent sales tax increase. There are mixed opinions about her proposal and it is uncertain whether or not it will pass. However, teachers hope there will be a favorable outcome.

“Our kids don’t get a second chance for an education so they need to make the most of it while they’re in school,” Nofziger-Meadows said.

Although teachers have been out fighting for their students, some students have already taken action. Hundreds of students from Garfield, West Seattle and Nathan Hale high schools walked out on Nov. 30 and marched to Seattle city hall to oppose education cuts. They hoped to attract the attention of local officials.

Although there have been some comparisons of the Day of Action to the recent Occupy Seattle movement, they are two different and separate things.

“We’re not protesting, we just don’t want cuts to education,” Weber said.

Legislators have a tough task ahead of them for the next few weeks but the teachers will continue to ride the momentum they created last week. Don’t expect them to go away quietly.

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