Teachers Union Bargaining To Steal Materials From Children

Teachers Union Bargaining To Steal Materials From Children

Teachers Union Bargaining To Steal Materials From Children

We’ve reached the time of year when families are asked to buy back-to-school items and bring them in for the students who cannot afford them.

Schools are reportedly underfunded, and the community is beseeched to provide materials and supplies. It’s likely you have seen the solicitations to help already.

But didn’t the state Legislature increase funding for schools this year? Yes, and one of the budget items that received a massive increase in state funding is “materials, supplies and operating costs.”

Here is the history of the state provision for these non-employee costs:

State Funding for School Materials, Supplies, and Operating Costs (MSOC)

Funding is provided in seven specific categories of Technology, Utilities and Insurance, Curriculum and Textbooks, Other Supplies and Library Materials, Instructional Professional Development (CLS and CIS), Facilities Maintenance and Security and Central Office.

School Year

Per Student MSOC

Increase since McCleary





2011-13 Budget Pg. 121








2013-15 Budget Pg. 198








2015-17 Budget Pg. 145





These amounts are specified in the basic education law as “for allocation purposes only,” and districts are not required to use funds for any particular service.

Washington Education Association wants to capture this for salaries.

In its summer newsletter, WEA urges those local unions in districts all across the state to demand more money for salary at the bargaining table.

“…the WEA Board approved a statewide goal of 5 percent pay increases per year of contract in addition to what the state provides, through local bargains.”

“Education funding is up nearly $2.9 billion, or about 20 percent over prior years.”

“What we do know is that the $2.9 billion increase provides new funds to the districts, and that most of that money can be bargained at the local level.”  Source: WE 2.0 Summer 2015

Keep in mind that the legislature increased salaries in this budget:

School Year

Automatic Inflation COLA

Legislative Awarded Increase

Total Pay Raise









School boards are compelled by the state to let the union establish the spending priorities in negotiations, and many districts are in these negotiations right now. Recognize that the union is trying to snag funds intended for students’ materials and supplies and divert them to adults’ wages.

If your school board gives away these funds as pay raises, be ready to help buy students materials and supplies as always. And, of course, the Legislature will again be accused of underfunding schools.

Senior Policy Analyst
Jami Lund is the Freedom Foundation’s Senior Policy Analyst. From 2004 to 2011, he developed legislative policy as a research analyst for the Washington House Republican Caucus. Prior to that he worked for the Freedom Foundation as the Project Manager for the Teachers Paycheck Protection project, shepherding the development of the Foundation’s landmark U.S. Supreme Court case to protect teacher rights. Jami is an accomplished speaker and researcher, one of Washington state’s top scholars on education policy and finance.