Washington Education Policy Brief - Mar. 13

Current Events & News, High School Success, Legislation | 03/13/2020

Katie Gustainis
Marketing & Communications Director, Stand for Children Washington

The Horizon: Key Dates

  • Yesterday – Sine Die (last day of session)
  • March 19 – Legislative Debrief Call at noon (Register here)

Education Policy

Over in Olympia, legislators continued their work this week to complete the 2020 legislative session, which culminated in the House and Senate passing their 2020 supplemental operating budget, adding over $2 billion dollars to the 2019-2021 budget passed last session. We were especially excited to see: 

  • $31.8 million dollars to increase counseling services in qualifying high poverty elementary schools. This funding will allow a prototypical elementary school to add the equivalent of an additional half-time school counselor, which will greatly reduce caseloads in these schools.
  • $1.9 million to increase special education safety net funding
  • $150,000 for the Washington Student Achievement Council to convene a task force on reducing barriers to dual credit access. The task force will make recommendations to the legislature on mitigating the cost of courses and tests, student supports to close equity gaps, communication with students and families about dual credit offerings, and how to expand dual credit courses for CTE students.

Although the investments in education are not as comprehensive as we would see at the end of a budget session, the supplemental budget also allocates funding to:

  • increase EACAP rates by 5%,
  • implement a mastery-based learning pilot program,
  • provide additional local effort assistance to districts,
  • and establish a small schools grant program for districts with less than 650 students.

We’ll dive deeper into the budget during our Legislative Debrief call next Thursday at 12 pm PST and I’ll be following up with a full legislative summary shortly thereafter. We'll also spend some time on the call discussing the impacts of school closures on students, families, and districts statewide. You can register here to join Thursday’s call. 

Key Numbers

  • 1,147,573 – the number of Washington students in the K-12 public school system impacted by school closures
  • 45% - the amount of public school students who are designated as low-income by OSPI and whose families will likely need more support during school closures

#WAedu Social Media Chatter

What We’re Reading 

Inslee expands coronavirus K-12 school closure, 250-person gathering ban, across Washington – Seattle Times

Food, mental health support and more: Resources to support the community during the coronavirus outbreak – Seattle Times

Schools see need for more counseling, but state fails to fund services – The Daily News

This list of education companies offering free online learning during school closures

Education Funding: An explainer

How do Washington schools get funded, anyway? An education funding primer video to get you started:

The Education Policymaking Brief is produced by Stand for Children Washington, a public education advocacy organization, and was established in 2017. If you’d like to review previous briefs, they are available here.

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