[Re]Invest in Our Colleges: Time for the State to Pay Up

By Sandra Toussaint, Political Organizer

It’s no secret. Administration knows it, students know it, our communities know it, we and our union siblings know it. The Community and Technical Colleges (CTCs) are not being adequately funded by the state, and we haven’t been for a long time. We’ve simply been forgotten, forever on the back burner, like the sun during a Seattle winter.

The state has said for years that they understand. They understand the schools are underfunded; they understand the faculty and staff are severely underpaid. They understand tuition is getting too high. They understand there’s an overreliance on adjunct faculty. They understand, but there just simply isn’t enough money to go around. Our revenue is still lower than it was before the recession, but that is because our state legislature has not adequately looked in to fixing our regressive tax code[1], instead relying on sales and property taxes like they always have.

This year we’re working to change that.

The [Re]Invest in Our Colleges (ROC) campaign is AFT Washington’s driving work this year. The main goal is to infuse our CTCs with more state funding through budget and policy requests, and good old-fashion community action. We’re asking for higher state investment in to the CTCs, higher wages for all staff and faculty, which are well below market average. We’re asking for higher student/counselor ratios, enhanced professional development for all workers, reducing the wage gap between employees and management, employee and student voice in how their college’s budget is managed, fighting institutional racism through equity, diversity, and inclusion training, and offices to make sure this training sticks on all campuses.

It’s a lot of work, and you know what comes next: we need your help to get this done.

To get this done, we need to work with all groups involved on our campuses. Other unions, students, community groups working on campus, and businesses. We need to meet with our legislators, and candidates. We must show the legislature, the governor, and the state that our CTCs are valued and necessary in our communities and that we want our colleges funded and respected.

Call, text, or email Sandra Toussaint at 206-427-8107 or stoussaint@aftwa.org so we can keep the momentum going!

Let’s get to work!

[1] https://budgetandpolicy.org/schmudget/five-essential-truths-about-our-state-tax-code

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