DAVE ROSS

Superintendent candidate says teachers should make a minimum of $48K

Apr 25, 2016, 9:13 AM | Updated: 9:50 am

Puyallup schools...

(AP)

(AP)

Finding a way to fully fund basic education may not be the job of the superintendent of public instruction, but it’s certainly a topic weighing on the minds of those hoping to replace Washington’s outgoing superintendent Randy Dorn.

Former nurse and current administrator for health programs Robin Fleming told KIRO Radio’s Dave Ross that the Legislature needs as much as $10 billion to fully fund basic education. And that money probably wouldn’t pay for universal pre-kindergarten, she says.

Related: Washington lawmakers continue to play kick the can with education

Fleming is one of four candidates vying to replace Dorn. Her opponents include Erin Jones, a Tacoma Public Schools administrator; State Rep. Chris Reykdal; and U.S. Navy veteran and former state rep. Larry Seaquist.

With the Legislature continuing to struggle with the McCleary decision that requires it to find more money for education to meet its “paramount duty” of providing for the education of all children, Fleming believes one option to better fund schools is by raising certain taxes and eliminating the need for school levies.

Fleming says the state needs to bump up teacher salaries in order to retain a workforce that is shrinking as educators choose to leave Washington for better opportunities. Governor Jay Inslee has talked about making starting salaries for teachers $40,000 a year. That’s too low, Fleming says.

“I think it should be $48,000,” she told Dave, using evidence from an advisory work group study.

Fleming says teachers are “fleeing” by the thousands. They are overwhelmed and underpaid, she says, citing teacher frustration over being asked to take responsibility for issues that disrupt the classroom, but may stem from outside it, such as poverty.

“They can’t do it alone and they are being asked to,” she says.

One of the most critical issues impacting the classroom, Fleming says, is mental health and physical health. A third of Washington’s students, she says, have diagnosable health problems.

“We have a lot of problems, Dave,” Fleming said.

Dave's Commentary

Dave Ross on KIRO Newsradio 97.3 FM
  • listen to dave rossTune in to KIRO Newsradio weekdays at 5am for Dave Ross on Seattle's Morning News.

Dave Ross

rent control...

Dave Ross

Ross: Rent control was never the answer in Wash.

The rent control bill died in the Washington State Legislature this week, even though Democrats control both houses.

2 days ago

end of democracy...

Dave Ross

Ross: Conservative activist earns applause for pledging an ‘end of Democracy’

The theme from Jack Posobiec's speech is that Jan. 6 was a righteous attack not on democracy, but on those who threaten democracy.

3 days ago

Image: Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colorado, is seen on Capitol Hill on Jan. 6, 2023. (Photo: Alex Brand...

Dave Ross

Ross: Voters can help cull bad politicians from the herd early

Let's remember that just about every occupant of a higher office once occupied a lower office, and was put there by us, Dave Ross says.

10 days ago

Super Bowl celebration...

Dave Ross

Ross: The NFL does it again

The NFL once again put on a show that was able to keep me tuned in for four hours even though I had no stake in either team.

17 days ago

social media...

Dave Ross

Ross: Is the Wild West of social media over after Senate hearing?

The original social media business model was genius -- get ordinary people to create content for free, sell ads and give the content creators a cut.

27 days ago

"I Voted" stickers are ready to be distributed to each person who filled out a ballot. (AP Photo/Ro...

Dave Ross

Ross: Initiatives will be the stars of November ballot

The November ballot will have a lot more than a presidential race and an open race for Governor.

1 month ago

Superintendent candidate says teachers should make a minimum of $48K