Washington state has threatened to terminate the funding for a school district following the vote of the school board to not fire their teachers who did not comply with Democrat Governor Jay Inslee's vaccine mandate for K-12 educators.
The News Tribune spoke with Katy Payne, director of communications for the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, and reported that "…if the office determines a school district knowingly has staff on payroll who have not provided proof of full vaccination or obtained an exemption, the state will provide notice. The district will have 15 days to provide proof of compliance with the proclamation. A second, 5-day notice will be given if no proof is provided."
Payne told the outlet: "If the district doesn’t provide proof of compliance within that timeframe, our office will withhold, and eventually reduce, the district’s subsequent monthly apportionment payments."
The Eatonville School Board voted Thursday afternoon in a vote of 2-1 not to terminate employees who would not comply with Inslee's mandate.
One of the board directors Matt Marshall told The Post Millennial that he voted no on the motion and that "…if Governor Inslee wants to fire Eatonville School employees, he needs to do it himself. I am elected to represent Eatonville. School board directors are part of the legislative branch. Governor Inslee's proclamation is an executive order and does not compel me to vote how it says. We have checks and balances for a reason."
In August, Inslee implemented what was then the strictest vaccine mandate for state workers in the US and provided no option for workers to submit frequent testing in place of the COVID-19 vaccine. Since then, Mayor Bill de Blasio in New York City has done the same. Inslee also announced a vaccine requirement for all employees, on-site contractors and on-site volunteers in K-12 schools.
On Tuesday, Inslee fired nearly 1,900 state workers, including hundreds of first responders, who did not submit vaccination records, a requirement ordered by Inslee that had an Oct. 18 deadline.
Those numbers don't include workers who were fired by their local governments or those who opted to quit or retire early after hearing about the mandate. Those numbers combined are predicted to be in the thousands.
According to a statement by the Office of Financial Management (OFM) on Tuesday, 1,887 out of 63,000 state employees were terminated or left their positions over the mandate. An additional 4.6 percent of state workers, almost 2,900, are still pending because the employees are either in the process of receiving a job accommodation, are planning to retire, are getting vaccinated or are awaiting separation from their agency.
Ronda Litzenberger said she made the motion for the board "…with a heavy heart."
Before the vote Thursday, Marshall said, "I understand that we have a proclamation, but at some point, I can't stand to watch us lose employees. And I know none of you want to see us lose employees either. And this is painful to put us between a rock and a hard place."
Board chair Jeff Lucas agreed with Marshall and said before the vote: "I would echo the same myself. Lay the blame squarely at the feet of the state and Jay Inslee and I’m profoundly unhappy about this. And yet again, we're just put in a lousy place with no local input and just stuck taking it."
Marshall predicted after the vote that "...Inslee will send Bob Ferguson (WA Attorney General) to take action, but I'm fed up."
"If school boards are required to consistently comply with mandates and orders from above, without question, and without guidance for implementation; why do we even have a locally elected school board?" Marshall questioned.