Whenever the Washington Education Association (WEA) argues that it needs more of taxpayers’ hard-earned dollars, it [questionably] claims that the money would go towards reducing class sizes and, thus, allegedly improving the quality of education for children. A new report proves that when the WEA actually does get its way, that its class size reduction promise falls short — very, very short.
The state legislature provided an extra $90 million in the 2013-15 budget and $350.2 million more in the 2015-17 budget for the purpose of reducing class sizes for kindergarten through 3rd grade. Unfortunately, even with millions more in taxpayer dollars, class sizes are not being reduced.
In fact, in many school districts, the opposite is happening. The Washington Policy Center reports:
On July 6th, Seattle School Board members formally announced plans to spend a record amount, $790 million, to operate 98 schools for 52,000 students. That is about $15,000 per student, or roughly twice the amount of typical private school tuition in the city.
The spending includes a $10.1 million grant from state taxpayers to reduce class sizes, plus $300 million from property owners for capital spending.
Despite new state funding, Seattle Public Schools say they are planning for larger class sizes in 64 of their 70 elementary and K-8 schools in 2016-17 (see table).
All the hoopla and class-size campaign in Olympia from a few years ago, which raised parental expectations statewide, has resulted in the opposite of what people were promised; more spending appears to be leading to larger class sizes, not smaller ones.
All in all, a whopping 64 elementary schools in Seattle will increase their class sizes next year. The question is, what is the Seattle School District doing with all the money they said they would spend to reduce class sizes?
Ladies and gentlemen, big labor at work.