PARKLAND, Wash. - Katie Redman is a fan of math. Her walls, at Elmhurst Elementary, are dotted with flash cards for millions, billions and trillions.
She also knows one number: zero. It's the amount of state cost-of-living increases she's received in her teaching career.
"I've never had a cost of living increase. I hope we can have a COLA soon," says Redman, a fourth grader teacher in the Franklin Pierce School District. She says, in her six years, the State has never given her one, and she's not alone.
"We did our part. With the economy improving, there is no reason teachers and other educators should face a sixth year without a state-funded COLA. It isn’t fair,” says Kim Mead, President of the Washington Education Association, which represents 82,000 teachers across the state.
It is now pushing Governor Jay Inslee to reinstate the COLA, approved by voters in 2000. It has been withheld by state lawmakers every year since 2008.
Inslee is expected to reveal his supplemental budget on Tuesday morning. He wouldn't drop hints on Monday night, but his Democratic colleagues were.
"It's a relatively modest budget, it's a supplemental budget," says Rueven Carlyle, (D) Seattle, who sits on the House Education Appropriations Committee. "There is not a quick fix. There is a desire to sit down at the table. The revenue numbers need to come in, and we need to see how the holiday numbers go with tax dollars, and shopping."
"Everyone wants to get to a yes," he adds.
Redman says, she'll continue to keep an eye on the numbers.
"It's been really tough as a teacher making ends meet, but I wouldn't change my job for anything, knowing that I can impact students the way I do."
"But it would be nice to have a COLA," she adds.