The focus was on floor action this week as legislators either agreed with changes made to bills in the opposite house (concurrence) or worked to resolve their differences. Several bills are still waiting on the final agreement and, of course, final behind-the-scenes budget negotiations are ongoing. Legislators are tackling a lot of big issues this session – from police reform to transportation to climate change, housing, and more. If you’re interested in some really good nonpartisan independent news about politics and policy in our state, check out the Washington State Wire.
Our message continues to be that the Legislature should invest state dollars to stabilize school funding for districts and that the focus of federal funding from ESSER III should be on learning recovery efforts moving forward. We also hope that some state investment is made for those districts that receive little to no federal funds.
The School Funding Coalition sent a letter to budget chairs describing the two most critical issues.
Enrollment Stabilization/Base Funding: The Senate proposal provides $192 million for a $1,500 per pupil floor. This additional state funding would supplement the federal funds. This funding floor approach provides a base level of added funding for schools and helps those districts that receive little or no ESSER funds. Our hope is that this baseline amount provides enough funding for districts that lost enrollment and as a result will lose funding for all of those enrollment-based programs (LAP, TBIP, special ed, etc.). We appreciate the House language from HB 1476 (enrollment stabilization) that corrects future funding formula problems related to pandemic enrollment numbers. As you reach a compromise, please allow districts discretion on how best to meet student needs using this one-time funding. We prefer the Senate approach of providing a base level of state funding to support all school districts and the House language fixing future year funding formulas.
Transportation Stabilization Funding: The Senate provides $356 million for transportation, subject to the passage of SB 5128. This investment in state funds allows school districts to maintain a viable transportation system as we work to get all of our students back to in-person learning. There were many concerns about SB 5128 as it passed off the Senate floor and some of those issues are reflected in the restrictions identified in the budget. We would like to work with you to address the concerns with SB 5128 and the budget language to ensure transportation stabilization dollars are available for districts that need it. Please consider funding at the Senate level and clarifying the implementation process for OSPI to distribute funds.
- HB 1028 | Repealing the EdTPA
- HB 1085 | Students with seizure disorders
- HB 1113 | Concerning school attendance
- HB 1121 | Emergency graduation waiver
- HB 1139 | Taking action to address lead in drinking water
- HB 1176 | Access to higher education (fines and fees)
- HB 1208 | Modifying the learning assistance program
- HB 1214 | Providing K–12 public school safety and security services by classified staff
- HB 1225 | School-based health care centers
- HB 1273 | Concerning menstrual products in schools
- HB 1295 | Concerning institutional education
- HB 1302 | Concerning college in the high school programs
- HB 1325 | Implementing policies related to children and youth behavioral health
- HB 1342 | Eliminating lunch copays for students who qualify for reduced-price lunches
- HB 1356 | Prohibiting the inappropriate use of Native American names, symbols or images as public school mascots, logos, or team names
- HB 1363 | Addressing secondary trauma in the K–12 workforce
- HB 1365 | Procuring and supporting appropriate computers and devices for public school students and staff
- HB 1373 | Promoting student access to information about behavioral health resources
- HB 1426 | Continuing education requirements for administrators and teachers
- HB 1476 | Addressing enrollment declines
- HB 1484 | Concerning the statewide first responder building mapping information system
- SB 5030 | Comprehensive school counseling programs
- SB 5044 | Professional learning related to equity, cultural competency, and dismantling institutional racism in schools
- SB 5128 | Concerning student transportation funding
- SB 5184 | Establishing a point of contact in all K–12 schools for students in foster care
- SB 5237 | Expanding accessible, affordable child care and early childhood development programs
- SB 5249 | Mastery based learning
- SB 5265 | Creating a bridge year pilot program
- SB 5299 | Allowing computer science courses as a third year of either a math or science graduation requirement
- SB 5322 | Prohibiting dual enrollment between SEBB and PEBB
If you are interested and able to advocate with your legislators, feel free to use any of the above statements in your messages to them. A short email to your legislators that shows your support for any or all of these issues, as well as mentioning other supports for students like additional counselors or mental health supports, etc… would be greatly appreciated. Your personal stories to lawmakers make a difference! Here’s a link to find their contact information.