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Although I understand Sen. John Braun, R-Centralia, and his caution not to divert funds, here is the reality we face, particularly in King County. If teachers’ salaries don’t increase to a livable wage, we won’t have any teachers for those smaller classes.

There is a teacher-shortage crisis. During my years of teaching, I watched younger teachers struggle financially due to the crushing burden of student-loan debt. I watched good teachers leave teaching because they couldn’t live on the salary they earned. I heard veteran teachers discouraging our youth from entering the profession.

Do we need to reduce class size? Yes, but teaching is a demanding profession. Our dilemma is that before reducing class size, we need to attract and keep excellent teachers. Increasing teacher salaries will address our teacher shortage.

My question to Sen. Braun: Was funding for significant salary increases the first priority of the Senate Ways and Means Committee? If not, you will see districts divert funds as they compete for teachers to educate their students.

Peggy Thesing, retired special-education teacher, Shoreline