On Tuesday, March 13th, we hosted a public conference call led by our Government Affairs Director, Dave Powell. With the 2018 legislative session finishing on-time last week (for the first time in 4 years), Dave summarized the progress of Stand's legislative priorities this year, the impact of the supplemental budget, and the most notable education bills to be passed into law.
If you’d like listen to the call, which lasted about 40 minutes, you can listen to the recording here:
The slide deck that served as a visual guide during the call is also available here.
If you prefer to read, instead of listen, here’s a brief recap of what Dave covered during the first part of the call:
Stand for Children’s Legislative Priorities
Stand’s focus during the 2018 session was centered on two High School Success policies: Academic Acceleration and Early Warning Data Systems. Senator Mullet, who is also a member of the education committee, was the primary sponsor and champion of our priority legislation throughout session.
The policies went through several iterations in both the Senate and the House, but unfortunately were not ultimately successfully in becoming law. The Senate and House education committees both heard testimony on the policies in different formats (SB 6209 and SB 6135). During both hearings several parents, students, educators and community leaders testified in support of the High School Success policies and their potential impact on Washington students. Senator Mullet also made one more effort to champion more flexibility for schools to implement Early Warning Systems by amending HB 2748. Although that bill passed the Senate and the House, the two chambers couldn’t come to an agreement on all the other changes that had been made in the process, so it did not make it to the Governor’s desk.
Overall, we are pleased with the strong foundation that was laid for these policies and the relationships we were able to cultivate with both lawmakers and OSPI. We plan to continue our work throughout 2018 with school districts, supporting the implementation of High School Success policies where there is desire to do so.
2018 Supplemental Budget
We were in the middle of the two-year state budget cycle, which meant that the legislature was responsible for passing a supplemental budget to augment the policy created last year. Thanks to a hopeful state revenue forecast, lawmakers had over $1B additional dollars to allocate, which resulted in some positive progress for key education priorities such as:
- Fully funding educator salaries starting one year earlier than planned ($775M)
- Slight increase in the special education multiplier ($25M)
- Investments in professional development around new science testing standards ($4M)
- Fully funding the State Need Grant over the next four years
- Expanding early learning services, including home visiting and resources for families experiencing homelessness
Notable Education Bills
Finally, there were several education bills that we followed closely and were pleased to see pass both chambers and be signed into law. They included:
- SB 6362: The McCleary Trailer Bill, which adjusted last year’s budget deal based on feedback from advocates and districts around the state, including:
- Fully funding teacher salaries one year earlier than planned
- Adjusting the salary regionalization factor and adding experience factor for some districts
- Increasing the special education multiplier
- Creating more highly capable testing to ensure more students have access to testing and advanced programs
- Adjusts LAP allocation to depend on a three-year rolling average of enrollment in free and reduced-price lunch programs
- HB 1508: The Breakfast after the Bell bill, which had been introduced many times over the years but finally passed thanks to the new Democratic majority in the Senate.
- HB 1488: Expanding Higher Ed Opportunities, which ensures that students who receive DACA status are eligible for state funding opportunities while working on a post-secondary degree.
- SB 6162: Universal Dyslexia Screening, which ensures that all students K-2 are tested for dyslexia early on in their academic careers.
If you couldn’t make it to the call, but would like to have Stand for Children staff come host a presentation about Washington education in your community, sign up here and we’ll be in touch about how you can help support an equitable education for every student.