Legislative Update | March 4-8, 2024

Roz Thompson, Governmental Relations & Advocacy Director, AWSP
Mar 08, 2024

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We've Crossed the Finish Line!

Pictured above: Colorado State University Student Drew Thompson crosses the finish line.

Yesterday, the Legislature adjourned “Sine Die”. Over the past few days, decisions were solidified about final supplemental budgets and final bill language. Here is my description about this year’s legislative session based on the book Fortunately that I used to read to my own kids. 

Fortunately…bills to change graduation requirements did not pass!
Unfortunately…these and other bills will return next year.
Fortunately...the principal intern grant received more money!
Unfortunately...it was only a small portion of what we asked for and what people need.
Fortunately...AWSL got some additional funding for student programs!
Unfortunately...our Seattle area director position did not get funding (but fear not we have a plan!)
Fortunately...there is money for inclusionary practices!
Unfortunately...it is included in the section with restraint and isolation practices and we don’t yet know what this means.
Fortunately…the capital budget provided some much needed funding for school construction!
Unfortunately…the operating budget fell short of many pieces that districts need to cover the costs of MSOC, special education, transportation, and staffing costs.

So, it’s a mixed bag for sure. I’m sure your superintendents and district finance staff are anxiously awaiting numbers from OSPI about what your district funding will look like for next year. This information will be sent out over the next few weeks. We know that some districts have cut multiple building administrator positions already, and that others are waiting for the final budget to come back from the Legislature before staffing decisions are made. Please reach out to us if you have questions or concerns about your position for next year.


Here is a look at some of the pieces of this year’s supplemental operating and capital budgets.

Prototypical School Staffing ($71.8 million NGF-O 2023-25; $71.8 million Total 2023-25; $156 million 4-year NGF-O) Funding is provided to increase staffing allocations in state prototypical school funding formulas for paraeducators, office supports, and non instructional aides beginning in the current 2023-24 school year, as required in SB 5882. 

Special Education Enhancements ($29.1 million NGF-O 2023-25; $29.1 million Total 2023- 25; $83.5 million 4-year NGF-O) Funding is provided for an increase to the funded enrollment limit for students eligible for special education from 15 percent to 16 percent, as required in HB 2180. Additionally, funding is provided for cohorts of special education teacher residents, inclusionary professional development, and anticipated increases in safety net awards. 

Maintenance, Supplies, and Operating Costs ($43.6 million NGF-O 2023-25; $43.6 million Total 2023-25; $94.7 million 4-year NGF-O) Per pupil rates for maintenance, supplies, and operating costs (MSOCs) are increased by $21 beginning in the current 2023-24 school year, as required under HB 2494. The categories of MSOCs increased are utilities and insurance, instructional professional development, and security and central office. 

Community Eligibility Provision ($45 million NGF-O 2023-25; $45 million Total 2023-25; $90 million 4-year NGF-O) Funding is provided for additional reimbursements to schools participating in the Community Eligibility Provisions program for school meals not reimbursed at the federal free meal rate. 

Transportation Actuals for 2023-24 ($76.9 million NGF-O 2023-25; $76.9 million Total 2023-25; $166 million 4-year NGF-O) Appropriations are increased to reflect updated 2023-24 school year transportation allocations calculated by OSPI in February of this year, which are above the estimated amounts assumed through January.

Besides these major areas of funding, the legislature provided funding for a whole variety of programs including more money for principal interns (the total is now $700,000), funding for AWSL to support work with student advisory groups, 9th grade success grants, inclusionary practices project, and more. If you have questions about a specific program, please reach out.

Capital Budget highlights include:

  • SCAP’s construction cost allocation (CCA) was increased from $271.61 a square foot to $375 per square foot for a total increased investment of $103.9 million in K-12. 
  • $114.8 million investment in the Small District Modernization Grant Program to fund 33 small school modernization projects and district energy assessments.
  • $68 million for skills centers construction and modernization projects at Tri-Tech, Wenatchee Valley, Whatcom County, Cascadia Tech, and Sequim skills centers. 
  • $45 million for clean classroom air. Provides grant funding for districts to improve HVAC systems, air filtration enhancements, and air quality and energy efficiency improvements.


I’ve taken the bills from my bill tracking list and put them here by category for your information. The restraint and isolation bill did not make it out this session, but additional funds were put in the final budget for continued professional development. The financial literacy and computer science competency bills did not make it, but I am sure legislators will bring these back next year. We are encouraging them to have a thoughtful process to review all graduation requirements rather than simply adding more. Coming soon will be my “Top Ten” list of bills that principals and assistant principals should know about for the 2024-25 school year with a bit more detailed information.

Budget Bills

  • HB 1248 Pupil transportation (health benefits for contracted drivers)
  • HB 2180 Increasing the special education cap (to 16%)
  • SB 5852 Concerning the special education safety net
  • SB 5949 Supplemental capital budget
  • SB 5950 Supplemental operating budget
  • SJM 8007 IDEA funding (requesting Congress to fully fund 40% of the costs of IDEA)

Health and Safety

  • HB 1618 Concerning the statute of limitations for childhood sexual abuse
  • HB 1956 Addressing fentanyl and other substance use prevention education
  • HB 1999 Concerning fabricated intimate or sexually explicit images and depictions
  • HB 2256 Addressing the children and youth behavioral health work group
  • HB 2260 Establishing civil penalties for the unlawful sale or supply of alcohol to minors
  • SB 5790 Concerning bleeding control and medical equipment in schools
  • SB 5804 Concerning opioid reversal medication in high schools
  • SB 5853 Extending the crisis relief center model to provide behavioral health crisis services for minors
  • SB 5891 Designating trespassing on a public school bus as a felony offense
  • SB 5906 Implementing a statewide drug overdose prevention and education campaign
  • SB 6079 Making juvenile detention records available to managed health care systems
  • SB 6109 Supporting children and families by clarifying the child removal process in circumstances involving high-potency synthetic opioids

High School/Graduation

  • HB 1146 Notifying high school students and their families about available dual credit programs and any available financial assistance
  • HB 2004 Providing early registration at institutions of higher education for military students
  • HB 2025 Modifying placement and salary matching requirements for the state work-study program
  • HB 2110 Reorganizing statutory requirements governing high school graduation
  • HB 2214 Permitting beneficiaries of public assistance programs to automatically qualify as income-eligible for the purpose of receiving the Washington college grant
  • HB 2236 Expanding and strengthening career and technical education core plus programs
  • HB 2441 Establishing a pilot program eliminating college in the high school fees for private not-for-profit four-year institutions
  • SB 5670 Providing summer running start for rising juniors
  • SB 5904 Extending the terms of eligibility for financial aid programs
  • SB 5953 Concerning financial aid grants for incarcerated students
  • SB 6053 Improving equitable access to postsecondary education with education data sharing


  • HB 1879 Naming the curriculum used to inform students about tribal history, culture, and government after John McCoy (lulilaÅ¡)
  • HB 2331 Modifying requirements for public school instructional and supplemental instructional materials
  • SB 5462 Promoting inclusive learning standards and instructional materials in public schools


  • HB 1228 Building a multilingual, multiliterate Washington through dual and tribal language education
  • HB 1239 Establishing a simple and uniform system for complaints related to, and instituting a code of educator ethics for, conduct within or involving public elementary and secondary schools
  • HB 1277 Improving the consistency and quality of the implementation of the fundamental course of study for paraeducators
  • HB 1377 Posting of approved courses and providers of continuing education
  • HB 1889 Allowing persons to receive professional licenses and certifications regardless of immigration or citizenship status
  • HB 1950 Concerning the public service loan forgiveness program
  • HB 1985 Providing a benefit increase to certain retirees of the public employees' retirement system plan 1 and the teachers' retirement system plan 1
  • SB 5180 Adopting the interstate teacher mobility compact
  • SB 5647 Providing temporary employees necessary information about school safety policies and procedures
  • SB 5882 Increasing prototypical school staffing to better meet student needs (paraeducators)


  • HB 2335 Concerning state-tribal education compacts
  • HB 2381 Increasing eligibility for economy and efficiency flexible school calendar waivers
  • SB 5883 Concerning the burden of proof for special education due process hearings

Here is my complete bill tracking list if you’d like to check out all of the bills. 

Say Thank You! 

Here is a link to write your own "Thank You" message to your legislators. Even though we didn’t get everything we asked for, it’s nice to say thanks for what was accomplished. Scroll down the webpage until you see the “Compose Your Own Message” section. Fill in your address and then select “Go” and the names of your local, state, and federal elected officials will appear. Select the ones you’d like to email and write your own message.

Thanks to YOU!

It is an honor for me to represent you at the Capitol. Thank YOU for all that you do for students and staff. A big thank you to all of you who spent time discussing legislation as part of our advocacy council meetings or grade level committees, contacting or meeting with legislators, sending action alerts, providing testimony, or spending some time in Olympia advocating this session! Advocacy is education and your involvement in advocacy helps to educate policymakers about the needs of building leaders and students.

I will send periodic updates throughout the next few months as we start planning our advocacy efforts for 2025. Please reach out if you have questions or comments. 

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Get Involved

Many thanks for all that you do for students and staff. Please reach out if you have questions or comments. Thank you!

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