Legislators could get an 11.2% pay increase? Seriously?
The Washington Citizens' Commission on Salaries for Elected Officials voted Tuesday to give state legislators an 11.2% salary increase over the next two years. This would bring their base salary to $46,839 by September 2016. In addition, legislators already receive a per diem allowance of $120 per day, which gives them an additional $19,800 over the course of a two-year term of office. That stipend was raised by one-third last year---at the same time legislators were suspending teacher cost-of-living raises for the 6th year in a row.
Compare this to a beginning teacher's base salary of $34,048 per year. Even with locally-negotiated add-ons in Lake Washington, a beginning teacher's annual salary of $43,206 falls far short of this recommended increase for state legislators.
Legislators work 105 days per year in odd-numbered years and 60 days in even-numbered years, for an average of 82.5 days per year. At this proposed salary rate, they would make almost $568 for each day they work. This does not include their additional $120 per day allowance, which brings the per-day total to $688.
The daily rate for a teacher in Lake Washington with a Master's degree plus 45 credits and 16+ years of experience is $343 per day. A beginning teacher's daily rate is $189 a day.
To add insult to injury, Governor Inslee has proposed giving K-12 employees only a 4.8% cost-of-living increase spread out over the next two years. He also wants to freeze our health care allotment at the 2011 rate of $768 per month through the 2016-17 school year. In contrast, he's proposing to increase state employees' health care---which covers legislators---to $947 per month during that same time period.
Professional compensation is key to attracting and retaining high quality teachers and school employees for our students. Every student deserves the opportunity to learn from caring, qualified and committed educators. We support the recommendations from the legislature's own Compensation Technical Working Group, which calls for the current beginning teacher base salary to be increased from $34,048 to an inflation-adjusted base salary of $48,687.