Legislative Information from Liberty High PTSA’s Legislative Representative

Folks, in case some of you didn't know it, on February 18th Issaquah School District lost another $450,000 in funding due to an additional state budget cut.  (That's $1,450,000 removed from this year's budget!)

Unfortunately, too, on the national level, the U.S. House of Representatives cut the U.S. Education Department budget by more than $5 billion. For example, Title I funding will be slashed by $694 million (5%). This funding is used to provide financial assistance to schools with high numbers of poor children. The School Improvement Grants budget will be slashed by $336 million. And Pell Grants will be reduced by about $5.7 billion (about 25%), which will impact more than 9 million students who will either see reduced awards, or lose their awards entirely. It becomes self-evident what a privilege it is to be a student with the opportunity to become educated.

Washington Legislative Update

Alternative Routes to Certification for Principals (HB 1593). This bill to allow non-teachers to seek positions as principals passed. It is a very important step in giving school districts flexibility to bring in talented leaders from other industries and vocations to lead schools. 

Continuing Education Reforms and Common Core Standards (HB1443). This bill passed. It strengthens instruction and support for Washington students, helps close the opportunity gap and supports education professionals. Also passed: HB 1521, which promotes innovation in Washington’s local public education systems; and HB 1329 which supports music education. 

Education Governance Reorganization (SB 5639, HB 1849). The Governor, along with education advocacy organizations, is calling for the creation of a single, cabinet-level department of education that would bring various educational organizations throughout the state together. Despite the governor’s call for “no more studies”, HB 1849 does just that. Rather than immediate reform, the bill would form a council to study how best to restructure education governance. The Governor made clear that we “don’t have time to wait.” Just FYI, Washington state ranks 48th in the nation in graduating students with B.A. degrees. And by 2019, two-thirds of the jobs created in Washington state will require a college-level education. 

Pay for Actual Student Success aka PASS (HB 1599). This important bill has moved from the House with a significant fiscal backing of $9.8 million. The notion of cash rewards to school districts, individual schools, and principals for increasing student academic outcomes is one that is a cornerstone of many important education reform efforts nationwide, and this is the first concrete example of it being used in state policy. 

Keeping Our Great Teachers - RIF Policy Changes. Much work is being done to revive this important issue either by work with the leadership or by amendment. This work is difficult, but the issue remains alive, and we have new allies helping to work with leaders and others on compromise language that will move the concept forward in a meaningful way. 

WaKIDS (HB 1510/SB 5427). The WAKIDS bill, which passed, supports families with students entering Kindergarten by providing pre-school meetings with parents and teachers, discussions about expectations of student readiness, and additional support for families who appear to be struggling.


PTSA Legislative Efforts Focused at the State Level
2010-11 WS PTA Top Six Priority Issues
  1. Implement reforms: Phase in new program of basic education as well as last year’s reforms around accountability, evaluations and family engagement
  2. Strengthen math and science education
  3. Get struggling readers the tools they need
  4. Consider traits other than just seniority when laying off teachers (Reduction in Force policies)
  5. Fund education first
  6. New model for teacher compensation: Emphasize rewarding teacher effectiveness in improving student learning

This website is published by Liberty High PTSA, P.O. Box 2633, Renton, WA 98056.  Information is for our members and the Liberty High School community.