Legislative Update | March 6-10, 2023

Roz Thompson, Governmental Relations & Advocacy Director, AWSP
Mar 10, 2023

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One Through, One To Come Back To

On the morning of the house of origin cutoff, SB 5175 passed the Senate. Many thanks to all of you who engaged with your Senators and sent emails encouraging them to support this bill.

Senator Lisa Wellman sponsored SB 5175, which allows districts to offer principals up to a three-year contract. We see this as an option that districts may choose to use to recruit and retain leaders, especially for high school positions. We support this bill because we hope school districts see this as an opportunity to maintain consistent leadership. Dismantling bad-for-student systems takes time and consistent, effective leadership. Principals deserve this job security due to the complex nature of their jobs and the years of experience required to become a highly effective and impactful school leader.

The Senate added two amendments. One requires a record check before signing a three-year contract. The other amendment says a contract can’t be renewed until the final year of the contract.

We’re disappointed the bill we wrote, SB 5085, didn’t pass this session. However, we feel good about elevating the conversation around support for principals and assistant principals. We will continue our advocacy around the various pieces of this bill and involve even more education advocates in this conversation.

Other Bills That Keep Moving

The big budget push in education this year is for increased special education funding. The House had a robust and passionate discussion about how to accomplish this. HB 1436 ultimately passed after much discussion on the House floor with lower funding levels than many would have liked. The Senate passed SB 5311, and it would raise the special education cap from 13.5% to 15% and increase the multiplier at a greater rate than the House.

SB 5174 is the only transportation funding bill that survives. This bill was narrowed from its original version and would create the Transportation Safety Net. Safety net awards must be provided to school districts with a demonstrated need for additional transportation funding for special passengers. Special passengers include:

  • students eligible for and receiving special education that require transportation as a related service of their individualized education program,
  • homeless students requiring transportation under the federal McKinney-Vento homeless assistance act, and
  • foster students receiving transportation as required under ESSA.

The recess bill, SB 5257, was heard last week in the House Education Committee and passed out of that committee this week. The bill was amended to more closely match the House bill (HB 1504), and it requires 30 minutes of recess and encourages recess before lunch. It also includes language that discourages withholding recess for disciplinary or academic reasons.

HB 1479, the restraint and isolation bill, would prohibit chemical restraint and mechanical restraint, and prohibit isolation beginning August 2, 2025. It prohibits the creation of isolation rooms and requires isolation rooms to be removed or repurposed by August 1, 2025. It also adds training and professional development requirements. Building administrators are added to this list of people who would be prioritized for this training.

HB 1550 is the Transition to Kindergarten bill. Legislators are trying to ensure funding stays the same for the current programs while creating statutes and procedures for future programs. Current TK programs will remain in place for the 2023-24 school year, but changes will come in the following school year.

HB 1308 will be heard next Monday in the Senate. This bill says that school districts may offer students the opportunity to meet graduation pathway requirements by completing a performance-based learning experience through which the student applies knowledge and skills in a real-world context, providing evidence of applying state learning standards in at least two of the core subject areas identified by the SBE that are most directly aligned with the student's education or career goals as stated in their HSBP.

SB 5243 passed the Senate, and it would revise high school and beyond plan (HSBP) requirements and require OSPI to facilitate the transition to and adoption of a common online platform for HSBPs. It would require school districts to provide access to an adopted universal platform within two years of platform development. This bill will be heard in the House Education Committee next week.

SB 5048 is a fantastic bill that passed the Senate this week. This bill will require institutions of higher education to provide enrollment and registration in College in the High School courses at no cost to students in grades 9 through 12 at public high schools.

HB 1316 is another dual credit bill that would allow Running Start students to be funded up to a combined maximum enrollment of 1.6 FTE. It would also allow high school graduates with 15 or fewer college credits to earn before meeting associate degree requirements to continue participation in the summer academic term following graduation.

HB 1565 has a short title of the “Educator Workforce Act”. This bill establishes a teacher residency program and continues work to identify the quality and effectiveness of educator preparation and workforce programs. This bill also addresses the BEST program. We are hopeful funding for principal mentorships will increase, as well as funding for principal internships.

HB 1207 moves over to the Senate, and it would change the term "emergency expulsion" to "emergency removal" and permit certain students to request that their records use the new term. It would also require OSPI to develop a model student handbook that includes, among other things, a complaint procedure related to harassment, intimidation, bullying, and discrimination.

HB 1478 establishes student rights and moves over to the Senate. It requires each public school to develop student-focused educational and promotional materials that incorporate the statement and to include the materials into required civics instruction. It directs OSPI to make the statement available on its website.

Bill Tracking

There are more bills still moving through the Legislature. Here are the bills being heard next week and the complete list of bills that I’m tracking.

Get Involved

Our advocacy efforts need all of our voices to contribute to the process. There are many different ways (big and small) that you can get involved in these efforts. Your participation can be as easy as doing an action alert to email your legislators or signing in support of a specific bill. Or, if you feel really passionate about a particular bill, we would love to have you testify. It takes all of us to make an impact!

If you have questions or comments or want to get involved, please reach out to me.

Thank you so much!

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  • Funding
  • advocacy
  • Special Education
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