Welcome to the 2020 legislative session! Below is our weekly Roll Call newsletter that we publish every Friday throughout session to give you the latest updates on what’s happening in education policy in Olympia.
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Happy cutoff day!
We’re celebrating here at Stand because two of our priority bills, SB 6480 and SB 6505, passed out of the Senate Early Learning and K-12 Education Committee this morning! Both head to Senate Rules, skipping over Ways & Means, which gives them a head start to gain a floor vote. We’ll be watching a number of other bills that are moving through their fiscal committees before the next cut off on February 11. You can check out our blog for the latest education policy brief if you'd like more detail on upcoming important cutoff dates, other bills we're watching, and the latest education news we're reading.
SB 6480 would require comprehensive school counseling programs in all districts and protect counselors’ time by ensuring they spend 80% of their day serving students. Yesterday, the Seattle Times described how the bill would more closely align counselor duties with national guidelines. The vote came after a number of advocates testified Wednesday in support, including Stand Executive Director Libuse Binder and representatives from the Black Education Strategy Roundtable, Bridging Cultural Gaps, the Foundation for Tacoma Students, OSPI, the Washington School Counselors Association, and the Washington Education Association. You can watch a recording of the hearing on TVW. Additional parents, counselors, and educators also submitted written testimony.
You may recall that we also testified in support of SB 6505, which would phase in a plan to pay all student costs for dual credit programs, starting with test fees for Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, and Cambridge exams. It now also heads to the Rules Committee, where we expect members to debate the details and timeline for covering these expenses. We at Stand remain committed to this bill because of our belief that students should not be blocked from advanced coursework because of cost.
Finally, we were excited to see SB 6117 receive a hearing in Senate Ways & Means this week. Although it would not completely close the gap in Special Education funding, it is a step in the right direction to ensure that districts do not have to rely on local levy dollars to meet their students’ needs. The bill would also make it easier for districts to access safety net funding from the state that is targeted toward serving students with disabilities.
It’ll be a tight schedule as we head toward February 19, the deadline for all bills to be voted out of their house of origin. We’ll continue to track bills related to our 2020 legislative priorities and keep you updated on the latest developments from Olympia.
Until next Friday, please don’t hesitate to reach out about what’s on your mind during this short session. Have a great weekend!
Want to read more about one of the bills mentioned above? Click here and type in the bill number: https://app.leg.wa.gov/billinfo/