KENNEWICK, Wash., -- Washington's classroom sizes are 48th largest in the country, and teachers in the Tri-Cities are worried this trend will continue making their job harder and harder. The population keeps growing, especially Pasco, increasing 83% in the last 10 years, but teachers contend there are not enough of them to keep up with the growth.
"I've seen my class size increase. I used to have para-educators come in and assist the kids, and I can't do that anymore. I used to do cooperative groups so they could work together. But now there are so many desks in the classroom I can't get the groups together so I've got them back in rows, which is tragic for the kids," says Barb Thomas a middle school math teacher in Benton City. She says when people retire they're not being replaced.
The state has cut funding for more than 3,600 K-12 positions during this budget cycle. The teachers say how you vote on November 2 will make a difference in their budget. They say to vote yes on Initiative1098 AND referendum 52. They also recommend voting no on 1053, 1107 and both liquor initiatives, 1100 and 1105 which supplied Washington's schools with more than 198 million in 2010.