About 2,500 teachers from the Evergreen, Camas, Washougal and Hockinson districts hit the streets Wednesday, leaving classes canceled for the day for some 38,000 students, nearly half the county’s public school students.
At midday, teachers wearing red shirts gathered at Esther Short Park to send a message to state legislators: It’s time to fully fund public schools.
Their acrimony stems from the Legislature’s failure to meet the demands of the McCleary decision, a 2012 Washington Supreme Court ruling calling on the state to amply fund K-12 education. Frustration boiled over this spring after legislators waffled over how to fulfill a demand to shrink class sizes after voters passed Initiative 1351 in November. Teachers are also frustrated that the Legislature has not provided cost-of-living pay increases since the recession.
As Darcy Haberl, a Heritage High School teacher, distributed lyrics to rally songs to fellow teachers, one of her students greeted her.