Teachers target Hobbs on school hiring bill

As a controversial bill giving principals greater power to hire and fire teachers creeps along in Olympia, the statewide teacher’s union is targeting a few of its supporters in hopes of changing their minds.

This Friday the House Education Committee plans to hold a hearing on Senate Bill 5242 which would give school administrators a stronger voice in assigning teachers, counselors, nurses, and school psychologists.

It cleared the Senate on a 27-22 vote March 6 with four Democrats joining 23 Republicans to pass it.

Sen. Steve Hobbs, D-Lake Stevens, voted for it and this past weekend he found himself the focus of the Washington Education Association’s attention.

Saturday morning, more than 100 teachers reportedly knocked on doors in the 44th Legislative District and handed out fliers criticizing Hobbs for backing “misguided, feel-good education bills.” The WEA also made automated phone calls to voters in the district on Friday. [NOTE: An earlier version incorrectly said WEA ran radio ads]

The WEA, in a press release, asserts the bill “tramples local decision making and forces every school district to follow the same staffing policy” and “has nothing to do with increasing K-12 funding or reducing class sizes, which is what our students really need.”

“We need to let Sen. Hobbs’ constituents know that he is failing to fulfill the state’s paramount duty to our kids — fully funding K-12 education,” said Kelly Snow, president of the Lake Steven Education Association.

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