The 76th Annual WSSRA Convention is set for the Pasco Red Lion, June 5 – 7.   President Brad Beal and the Pasco Convention Planning Committee are anticipating more than 200 attendees for this annual gathering—the first since COVID that is scheduled at the normal time of year:  the first week of June. 

Washington State Teacher of the Year Dana Miles, from the State School for the Deaf in Vancouver, will provide a Monday afternoon keynote address. Tuesday morning Amina Makhdoom, from Fresnel Consulting and a NRTA presenter, will lead us through an exercise designed to develop a membership/recruitment plan for 2023-24.  Finally, Mike Pellicciotti, Washington State Treasurer, will speak at the Wednesday morning breakfast about his office and its role in pension analysis.

The convention features a delegate assembly which will review proposed updates to the organization’s bylaws.  For those of you who cannot attend this year can make plans to attend the 2024 convention in Wenatchee, June 3 – 5.

The 2023 legislative session ended on April 23. For WSSRA, the session definitely was a success!  Highlights were a one-time, 3% Plan 1 COLA and $250 M dedicated to pay off TRS Plan 1 unfunded liability. Both were included in a package that is awaiting the Governor’s signature. In addition, the $183/month Medicare subsidy was maintained, Plan 2 and Plan 3 PEBB deferral rules were equalized, and all K-12 educators who retire early can now work up to 867 hours per year without incurring a pension reduction. More on the session can be accessed by reading Peter Diedrick’s session summary under the legislative tab.

We appreciate and applaud members who consistently sent emails or made phone calls to legislators during the session. We can’t succeed without the weekly support of legislative committee members, local legislative contacts, and members who keep up a steady stream of correspondence with local legislators. As summer arrives and legislators return to their normal lives, the time is ripe to connect with them informally—when they have the time to speak with constituents.  As always, thanks for all that you do with advocacy.

On the membership front, thanks to unit leadership and local membership chairs for returning to faculty meetings this winter and spring for information sharing and recruitment purposes.  We appear to have reversed the trendline on membership losses that began with COVID in 2020.  A 17,000 strong membership impresses legislators, but they would be even more impressed if our numbers rose toward the coveted 20,000 mark.  Please do what you can do to have former colleagues join WSSRA!

Alan Burke, Executive Director