This year’s legislative session ended on time after 105 days. It’s been described as unique, historic, surprising, and consequential. Despite economic concerns about our state revenue last summer and fall, and uncertainty about how the Legislature would run its process to hear and pass bills in a mostly virtual manner, some significant bills passed and the final budgets boosted spending on many different programs.
According to the Washington State Wire,
“335 bills passed the Legislature in 2021. Democrats passed 266 (79.4%) and Republicans passed 69 (20.6%). Of the 335 total bills that passed, 24 bills (7.1%) squeaked through on party line votes. According to records maintained by the Office
of Program Research, the 335 total will be the lowest number for an odd year, 105 day session since at least 1983.”
At the beginning of this session, House Democrats had four priorities for bills they wanted to pass, including those related to racial equity and social justice, climate change, economic recovery and tax reform, and responses to COVID–19. Big policy
bills related to each of these areas passed both houses. Because tax collections and future revenue forecasts were strong, along with a massive influx of federal funding, the Legislature was able to fund many programs. For more information on the
variety of bills that passed, check out this article from The Seattle Times or this article from Governor Inslee.
As part of the education community, our goal was to make sure school districts could support immediate student needs by having stable enrollment and transportation funding. We wanted to ensure funding was in place for costs related to safety needs, including
additional staffing that could support student mental health. We also stressed the immediate needs for equitable access to technology resources, including devices and broadband connectivity, as well as for staff to continue engaging in professional
learning related to both racial literacy and successfully engaging students in online learning.
This year’s operating budget addressed many important priorities for students. Superintendent Chris Reykdal said in his news release that “the
budget shows strong support for students, families, and schools.”
As of this writing, Governor Inslee has not yet signed the final budget (SB 5092), but here are some budget highlights. If you want
a really thorough look into the supplemental, operating, and capital budgets, check out Dan Steele’s Sine Die edition of This Week in Olympia (TWIO). A huge thank you to Dan and others at WASA, WASBO, OSPI, and the ESDs who work tirelessly to help make sense of a very complicated K–12 funding structure.
K–12 Education Increases
Federal ESSER Grants – $1.74 Billion (2021–23).
$1.67 billion of federal funding allocated by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 and $74.2 million of federal funding allocated by the Coronavirus Response and Relief
Supplemental Appropriations Act is provided to assist school districts with response to the COVID–19 pandemic. For a look at how much federal funding your district receives, check out OSPI’s Budget Preparations page.
Enrollment Stabilization – $95.9 million (2021 supplemental), $27.8 million (2021–23).
One-time funding is provided for enrollment stabilization in the 2020–21 school year. State stabilization amounts are provided
to local education agencies that do not receive sufficient subgrants from the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief fund to offset reductions to state revenues due to drops in enrollments from the 2019–20 school year.
Transportation Stabilization – $117.1 million (2021 supplemental), $34.0 million (2021–23).
One-time funding is provided for one-time pupil transportation payments to school districts to address lower pupil transportation
payments for the 2020–21 school year.
School Funding Stabilization – $16.2 million (2021–23).
One-time funding is provided to ensure school districts receive at least $500 per pupil for COVID–19 relief funding when combined with federal relief dollars.
Learning Recovery – $23.4 million (2021–23).
One-time funding is provided to OSPI to administer grants to school districts for the purposes of learning recovery due to impacts of the COVID–19 pandemic. Additionally,
$79.5 million in federal funding from ESSER II and $93.1 million in federal funding from ESSER III state amounts are provided for learning recovery.
Counselors for High Poverty Schools – $51.6 million (2021–23), $137 million (2023–25) .
Funding is provided to add 0.5 FTE guidance counselors per high poverty school for each prototypical school level (elementary,
middle school and high school) beginning in the 2022–23 school year.
Learning Devices – $24.0 million (2021–23), $4.3 million (2023–25).
Funding is provided to OSPI for grants to assist districts in acquiring and supporting learning devices and to ESDs to provide technology procurement,
training and consultation, as described in E2SHB 1365.
Connectivity – $23.5 million (2021–23), $62.3 million (2023–25).
Beginning in the 2022–23 school year, additional technology funding to support broadband connectivity is provided through an increase of $25
per student to the MSOC rate.
Special Education Professional Development – $12 million (2021–23).
Funding is provided for professional development to promote the inclusion of students requiring special education within the general education classroom.
Special Education Transition Services – $17 million (2021–23).
Federal funding is provided for extension of transition services for students with disabilities who turned age 21 during the 2019–20 or 2020–21
school years and did not graduate with a regular diploma.
Paraeducator Training – $14.8 million (2021–23), $32.1 million (2023–25).
Funding is provided for two days of training in the Paraeducator Certificate Program per year ongoing beginning in fiscal year 2023. Funding
is also provided to create online training for paraeducators on community, family and student engagement.
ESD Nurse Corp, Safety Staff, and Stabilization Funding – $3.3 million (2021 supplemental), $13.6 million (2021–23), $14 million (2023–25).
Additional staff is provided to ESDs for the School Nurse Corps to support
one day a week of support for all school districts with less than 2,000 students enrolled (second class districts). Staffing at regional school safety centers are increased to 2.5 FTEs per ESD. Also, stabilization funding in fiscal year 2021 is provided
to address COVID–19 impacts.
Eliminating School Lunch Copays – $8.9 million (2021–23), $8.9 million (2023–25).
School lunch copays are eliminated for students in pre-kindergarten through 12th grades eligible for reduced-price lunches, expanding
beyond the current coverage for grades kindergarten through third.
After School Programs – $18.5 million (2021–23).
One-time federal funding is provided to OSPI from ESSER III state amounts to support after school programs.
Summer Enrichment – $18.5 million (2021–23).
One-time federal funding is provided to OSPI from ESSER III state amounts to support summer programs.
Residential Outdoor School – $10 million (2021–23).
One-time federal funding is provided for OSPI to contract with the Washington School Principals’ Education Foundation (woohoo AWSP!!) to support pandemic-related
learning loss through outdoor learning and overnight camp experiences.
Individuals with Disabilities Act – $57.1 million (2021–23).
Federal funding is provided under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) for special education services in addition to regularly provided federal
Supports for Children Experiencing Homelessness – $12 million (2021–23).
One-time federal funding is provided for the purpose of identifying children and youth experiencing homelessness and providing them with wraparound
services due to the challenges of COVID–19.
Emergency Food Reimbursements – $14.2 million (2021–23).
Appropriations are provided for federal reimbursements for emergency costs in child nutrition programs.
Equity Related Bills
HB 1113 | Concerning school attendance. This bill promotes the expectation that districts used tiered supports to increase student
attendance. “Community Truancy Boards” are changed to “Community Engagement Boards”.
HB 1140 | Juvenile access to attorneys when contacted by law enforcement. This bill requires law enforcement to provide juveniles with
access to an attorney prior to any waiver of the juvenile’s constitutional rights when law enforcement: (1) questions a juvenile during a custodial interrogation; (2) detains a juvenile based on probable cause of involvement in criminal activity;
or (3) requests that the juvenile provide consent to an evidentiary search of the juvenile or the juvenile’s property, dwellings, or vehicles under the juvenile’s control.
HB 1176 | Access to higher education (fines and fees). This bill prevents districts from withholding grades/transcripts (but not diplomas)
of a student who is responsible for damaging school property, or property belonging to a contractor of the districts, an employee, or another student.
HB 1295 | Concerning institutional education. This bill implements numerous requests made by the Task Force on Improving Institutional
Education Outcomes and Programs such as increased support for students, professional learning for adults, and updated reporting requirements for programs for students who are in or released from secure facilities.
HB 1342 | Eliminating lunch copays for students who qualify for reduced-price lunches. Beginning in the 2021–22 school year,
school districts with school lunch programs must eliminate lunch co-pays for students in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade who qualify for reduced-price lunches. OSPI must allocate funding for this purpose.
HB 1356 | Prohibiting the inappropriate use of Native American names, symbols or images. This bill prohibits public schools from using
Native American names, symbols, or images as school mascots, logos, or team names and establishes exceptions to the prohibition if certain requirements are met, including consultation with and authorization by, the applicable tribe or tribes. It allows
for the phasing out of uniforms or other materials bearing Native American names, symbols, or images as mascots, logos, or team names if specified requirements are met. A temporary grant program is established to provide grants for schools that incur
costs resulting from compliance with the prohibition.
Health and Safety Related Bills
HB 1085 | Students with seizure disorders. This bill requires districts to provide individual health plans for students with seizure
HB 1139 | Taking action to address lead in drinking water. This bill requires school districts to cooperate with DOH or contract for
sampling and testing for lead contamination at drinking water outlets in school buildings built, or with all plumbing replaced, before 2016 and it directs school districts and schools to communicate certain information, take mitigation measures, and
adopt an action plan if test results reveal lead concentrations that exceed stated thresholds.
HB 1214 | Providing K–12 public school safety and security services by classified staff. This bill requires enhanced training
and accountability for school resource officers and classified safety and security staff in schools.
HB 1225 | School-based health care centers. This bill establishes the school-based health center program office within the Department
HB 1273 | Concerning menstrual products in schools. This bill requires school districts, private K–12 schools, charter schools,
state tribal compact schools, and public and private institutions of higher education to make menstrual hygiene products available at no cost by the beginning of the 2022–23 academic year. These entities must bear the cost of supplying these
HB 1325 | Implementing policies related to children and youth behavioral health. This bill converts the pilot programs for the Partnership
Access Line for Moms and Mental Health Referral Service for Children and Teens into permanent programs. It also expands Medicaid benefits to enhance the number of mental health assessment visits for infants from birth to six months and modifies criteria
for mental health assessment and diagnosis for children aged birth through five.
HB 1363 | Addressing secondary trauma in the K–12 workforce. This bill requires OSPI to provide resources, self-assessments,
and best practices to prevent and address secondary traumatic stress for adults in the workforce.
HB 1373 | Promoting student access to information about behavioral health resources. This bill requires public schools to post contact
information for behavioral health organizations on their website home pages and to post corresponding information on social media websites used by the school district.
HB 1477 | Implementing the national 988 system to enhance and expand behavioral health crisis response and suicide prevention services
statewide. In October 2020 Congress passed the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act of 2020. This act designates the number 988 as the universal telephone number within the US for the purpose of accessing the National Suicide Prevention and Mental
Health Crisis Hotline system that is maintained by Lifeline and the Veterans Crisis Line. The Washington State Department of Health must provide adequate funding for an expected increase in the use of the state’s crisis lifeline call centers
once the 988 hotline number is established.
HB 1484 | Concerning the statewide first responder building mapping information system. This bill repeals provisions directing the
operation and use of the first responder building mapping information system for schools and other public buildings, and directs transfer of the mapping system information to OSPI, the Governor, and other public entities upon request.
SB 5030 | Comprehensive school counseling programs. This bill requires school districts to implement comprehensive school counseling
programs, ensuring that counselors spend at least 80 percent of their work time providing direct and indirect services to students.
SB 5115 | Establishing health emergency labor standards. This bill creates an occupational disease presumption for frontline employees
during a public health emergency for the purposes of workers’ compensation and requires employers to notify L&I when a certain percentage of their workforce becomes infected during a public health emergency. It also requires employers to
provide written notice to employees on the premises and their union of potential exposure to the infectious or contagious disease during a public health emergency and prohibits discrimination against an employee who is high risk for seeking accommodation
that protects them from the disease or using all available leave options if no accommodation is reasonable.
SB 5184 | Establishing a point of contact in all K–12 schools for students in foster care. This bill requires K–12 public
schools to establish a contact person in each elementary, middle, and high school building to coordinate services and resources for students in foster care.
Professional Learning Related Bills
HB 1028 | Repealing the EdTPA. This bill repeals the requirement that candidates for residency teacher certification pass the EdTPA
and would require PESB to implement new procedures for evaluating and recommending candidates for residency teacher certification.
HB 1426 | Continuing education requirements for administrators and teachers. This bill directs PESB to adopt rules for renewal of administrator
and teacher certification. Beginning July 1, 2023, administrators who are submitting certificate renewals need to complete 10 clock hours on equity-based school practices, 10 clock hours on educational leadership standards, and 5 clock hours on government-to-government
relations with tribal nations. AWSP is working closely with PESB on these rules and will have some fantastic professional learning opportunities available in each of these areas. Teachers must complete 15 clock hours focused on equity-based school
practices beginning July 1, 2023.
SB 5044 | Professional learning related to equity, cultural competency, and dismantling institutional racism in schools. PESB must
develop or update cultural competency, diversity, equity, and inclusion (CCDEI) standards of practice for preparation, continuing education, and other training of school district staff and post it on its website. WSSDA must develop CCDEI standards
for school director governance and post it on its website. WSSDA and PESB must collaborate to compare and align CCDEI standards. EOGOAC must, and the Office of Equity may, review the CCDEI standards. In the 2021–22 school year, school districts
must use one of the professional learning days to train school district staff in one or more of the following topics: cultural competency, diversity, equity, or inclusion. Beginning in the 2023–24 school year, and every other school year thereafter,
school districts must use one of the professional learning days to provide a CCDEI training program to school district staff. School district staff includes classified staff, certificated instructional staff, certificated administrative staff, and
High School and Graduation Related Bills
HB 1121 | Emergency graduation waiver. This bill permits schools to grant individual student emergency waivers from credit and subject
area graduation requirements, graduation pathway requirements, or both, due to a disruption from a local, state, or national emergency. Proposed final waiver rules are being discussed at next week’s State Board of Education meeting and should
be adopted in July, 2021.
HB 1302 | Concerning college in the high school programs This bill allows 9th grade students to participate in college in the high
school programs and sets the maximum tuition fee for courses at $65 per credit.
SB 5249 | Mastery-based learning. This bill extends the mastery-based learning work group and expands its membership. The State Board
of Education (SBE) has to review a Washington profile of a graduate developed by the workgroup and submit a report of related findings and recommendations to the Governor and the education committees of the Legislature by December 31, 2022. This bill
also requires the SBE to seek input from high school students and recent graduates on the graduation pathways, and submit a second graduation pathways report to the education committees of the Legislature by December 10, 2022.
SB 5299 | Allowing computer science courses as a third year of either a math or science graduation requirement. This bill allows a
student, upon approval, to substitute an approved computer science course for a third-year math or science credit for graduation purposes. It also requires that a substituted computer science course align with the student’s High School and Beyond
SB 5321| Expanding access to the college bound scholarship. This bill eliminates the requirement that a student sign a pledge to be
eligible for the College Bound Scholarship (CBS). It requires the Washington Student Achievement Council to automatically enroll eligible students in the CBS program and for students to acknowledge receipt of their enrollment.
Miscellaneous and Budget Related Bills
HB 1208 | Modifying the learning assistance program. This bill requires that school districts budget and expend Learning Assistance
Program (LAP) funds: (1) immediately and temporarily to identify and address the academic and nonacademic needs of students resulting from and exacerbated by the COVID–19 pandemic; and (2) beginning with the end of the COVID–19 emergency
or September 1, 2025, whichever is later, using the framework of the Washington Integrated Student Supports Protocol. It makes changes to requirements and restrictions on the use of LAP funds and directs the Center for the Improvement of Student Learning
to review and report on programs and practices used in the LAP. It also expands the Extended Learning Opportunity Program to ninth and tenth grades.
HB 1365 | Procuring and supporting appropriate computers and devices for public school students and staff. This bill directs OSPI to
develop and administer a technology grant program to help schools attain a universal 1:1 student to learning device ratio and to support staff, students, and families in using technology to support student learning. It requires each ESD to provide
technology consultation, procurement, and training to school districts, and directs OSPI to survey school districts and report to the Legislature with technology levy information. It also requires OSPI to report to the Legislature biennially with
a summary of technology initiative information and recommendations and directs OSPI to establish a grant program to support media literacy and digital citizenship and to convene two regional conferences on this topic.
HB 1476 | Addressing enrollment declines. This bill revises enrichment levy formulas in the 2022 calendar year, requiring 2019–20
school year enrollments to be used in place of 2020–21 if 2019- 20 enrollment is greater and a school district is open for in-person instruction at the beginning of the 2021–22 school year.
SB 5128 | Concerning student transportation funding. The final bill allows districts, during the current or future emergencies, to
use pupil transportation allocations for “expanded services,” including delivering meals, instructional materials, and technology devices; and transporting students to/from learning centers where educational and support services are being
provided to students.
SB 5237 | Expanding accessible, affordable child care and early childhood development programs. This bill establishes a new account
for child care and early learning purposes expands eligibility and decreases copayments in the Working Connections Child Care Program and expands eligibility in the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program. It provides for increased rates,
training, grants, supports, and services for child care and early learning providers and increases supports for families of children from birth to age 3, as well as for providers.
SB 5322 | Prohibiting dual enrollment between SEBB and PEBB. This bill states that an employee who is eligible for both Public Employees’
Benefits Board and School Employees’ Benefits Board insurance coverage needs to choose health, dental, and vision coverage from the same program.
Finally, a huge THANK YOU to our AWSP Advocacy Council and to our Principal Partners for Legislators for all of their time and effort spent discussing bills, reaching out to legislators, and submitting written and verbal testimony this session to share
the principal perspective and experience.
Thank you also goes to all of you who engage in advocacy efforts within your district, region, and across our state.
If you would like to get involved in AWSP’s advocacy efforts, please reach out to me. Look for more updates throughout the interim as we continue conversations with education advocates and