C'mon Seven...Teacher Needs a Raise

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The Washington Education Association has found a strange bedfellow. In order to pay for cost-of-living raises and other education priorities, the WEA has teamed up with the Entertainment Industry Coalition--a group of taverns, card rooms, racetracks, and charity bingo operators--in order to push for an expansion of legalized gambling. The prospect of expanded gambling is promising to bring in between $200- and $300 million, which would be enough to fully fund the $212 million obligation imposed by a voter approved initiative. Initiative I-732 was enacted by voters to give teachers and school staff a 2% pay raise in September and another 1.9% pay raise in September 2005. The 76,000-member WEA spent $1.16 million in the last special session of the legislature, so the prospects for passage of this measure in the upcoming special session, which begins May 12th, look pretty good.