Opinion

Gov. Gary Locke is just plain wrong

I suppose that title about sums up my feelings: straight to the point, blunt, no need trying to interpret my meaning or concern. Gov. Gary Locke is wrong to bypass two initiatives passed in recent years dealing with class size and teacher pay. The public has spoken, saying they want to help educators provide a better education for their children. To disregard that desire is nearly criminal.

No, I don't have the answers on how to pay for it, but I would think when Gov. Locke touts his prioritized list of essential services, education may outweigh the justice system and other state-funded programs such as transportation.

I am glad that the Snoqualmie Valley School District Board of Directors recognized the need for our teachers to vent in Olympia, albeit with concerns about the school calendar. Our school district has long been a cohesive community and I would hate to see anything impact that cohesiveness. I know it will be painful for parents trying to figure out what to do with their children for that day, but we can all stand a little pain if it means attracting and retaining quality educators in the process.

But the rhetoric coming out of Olympia regarding the budget has me concerned. It's obvious to everyone that there is no easy fix, but determining priorities can't be done in a vacuum. It would be prudent for lawmakers to spend some time in communities, both rural and urban, to determine priorities.

I still think growth management needs to be revised to allow for more growth in rural areas, albeit with some controls. The burden on government to find solutions for transportation, the judicial system, growth and many other issues has a direct correlation to growth management. King County is suffering as more people opt to spend their money, and consequently their sales-tax dollars, in neighboring counties because of traffic issues.

But the most important issue in the near term is supporting our educators. I, along with many of you, have children in the school system and realize the impact that those educators have on shaping those young minds. I want the best of the best and that means reasonable pay with annual increases and smaller class sizes, especially in East King County where home prices are continuing to climb. Wouldn't it be great to have a community where the teacher lived down the street? I grew up in that community, here, and can remember the importance of their acceptance of me as a kid. Many of our children today do not get that same relationship because their educators cannot afford to live here, what a shame.

So tell your legislators, Cheryl Pflug, Glenn Anderson and Sen. Dino Rossi, that we will not accept the governor's budget if it throws out the initiatives we passed in 2000.

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