We are headed into the final sprint of this short session. Another cut-off date passed this week, with the last day to pass bills out of their house of origin on February 15. These were very long days for legislators and legislative staff, and some bills
didn’t survive. Legislative committees started up again on Wednesday as surviving bills moved to the opposite side for a week of hearings. The next cut-off date is February 24, when policy bills must pass out of these committees.
The Senate and the House are releasing their own budgets very soon. The Senate Ways and Means and the House Appropriations Committees will hear their respective budget bills on Monday, February 21. The state Economic and Revenue Forecast Council (ERFC)
updated its forecast of state revenues this week, which helps budget writers finalize their supplemental budgets. State revenues are now over $10 billion higher than expected when the session ended in April 2021. Read more on the revenue forecast
from the Washington Research Council.
One budget item gaining momentum is a budget proviso for one-time funding for school districts that received less than $1,500/student in federal relief funding during the pandemic. Last session, the state provided gap funding to school districts receiving
less than $500/student in federal ESSER funding, but costs have exceeded this amount, so this adjustment would help some districts. Representative Lisa Callan, Senator Lisa Wellman, and other legislators are leading this conversation with budget writers.
We expect that both budgets will include funding for:
providing a commitment to fund additional support positions such as nurses, counselors, social workers, and psychologists through an update to the prototypical funding model,
providing enrollment stability, and
increasing transportation spending.
The State must also address the cost of living adjustments in the budget due to inflation increases. Our economy continues to be strong, so how the math on all of this works out remains to be seen. We hope funding will be as stable as possible for
districts, and we get some critical new investments in K-12 education.
The Senate released its Capital Budget this week and included funding for these items:
$123.6 M for the school seismic safety program. OSPI’s budget request of $8.6 M was fully funded, and the Senate appropriated an additional $115 M for a total of $123.6 M.
$30 M for the West Sound Technical Skills Center campus modernization.
$15 M funding correction for the Coronavirus Capital Projects Account.
$13 M for the Almira School which burned to the ground in October 2021.
$2.6 M for additional Small District Modernization Grant projects in Brewster and Oroville.
Tyler Muench from OSPI says, “This is the best capital budget for K-12 schools than we’ve seen in at least a decade.” Great news!
We are also eagerly waiting to see what kind of support Outdoor Education for All receives in these budgets. Let’s get kids outside!
This week, I’ve had a few more conversations about dual credit and HB 1760. Unfortunately, College in the High School programs were removed from the bill in the House Appropriations Committee, and the bill only addresses support for Running
Start programs. We think it is important to remove the 20-mile radius requirement on the College in the High School grant through OSPI and provide more funds for these programs. These changes would help to provide equitable dual credit experiences
My bill tracking list is getting a little bit smaller. If you want to share your thoughts about dual credit programs or any of the following bills with your local legislators, please send them an email. You
can also invite them to meet with you via video conference or at your school so you can advocate on behalf of the principalship and your school’s needs.
Bills Still Alive
- HB 1816 | Operating Budget (companion bill SB 5693)
- HB 1590 | Enrollment Stability
- HB 1664 | Prototypical Support
- HB 1808 | Transportation Funding (close companion SB 5581)
- SB 5487 | Small District Consolidation
- SB 5933 | School Seismic Safety
- SB 5651 | Capital Budget
- HB 1611 | Highly Capable Students
- HB 1723 | Telecommunication Access
- HB 1736 | State Student Loan Program
- HB 1746 | Updating 2015 Report for Student Success
- HB 1833 | Electronic Option for School Meal Needs
- HB 1878 | Increasing Participation in Community Eligibility Provision
- HB 2068 | Creating the Imagination Library Program
- HB 2078 | Outdoor School for All
- SB 5497 | Student Board of Education Members
High School/Dual Credit
- HB 1162 | Performance Exhibition Pathway
- HB 1687 | College Bound Scholarship GPA
- HB 1760 | Dual Credit Program Access
- HB 1805 | Opportunity Scholarship Program
- HB 1835 | Postsecondary Enrollment (FAFSA completion support)
- HB 1867 | Dual Credit Data
- SB 5498 | Awarding Diplomas Posthumously
- SB 5789 | Innovation Challenge Program (similar to HB 1835)
- SB 5878 | Arts Instruction
- HB 1759 | Secure Storage Info on School Websites
- HB 1800 | Increasing Access to Behavioral Health Services for Minors
- HB 1834 | Student Mental Health Absences
- HB 1890 | Children and Behavioral Health Work Group
- HB 1941 | Active Shooter Drills
- HB 1699 | Educators Working in Retirement
- HB 1942 | Paraeducator Training
- SB 5252 | School District Consultation with Tribes
As usual, please reach out to me with any questions. Thank you!