Legislative Update
March 2017
Week 10 - Legislative Session Updates
By NBCT Marianne Hunter

March Madness is upon us! And we're not just talking about basketball.

The big story is that Senate Republicans released their budget on Tuesday morning. Republican leaders touted it as a solution to "enormous inequity in the state" that still "pays the bills." In a not-at-all surprising response, Democratic leaders called it "cold-blooded."

For more detail than you probably want, including proposed staff mix and salary allocations for schools, check out the Legislative Evaluation and Program committee (LEAP) budget docsFor a breakdown of dollars for K-12 schools, take a look at page nine of the budget summary .

A special edition of WA Assocation of School Administrator's "TWIO" (This Week in Olympia) newsletter provides a helpful analysis of the education portion of the budget. Of note is the proposed elimination of state funding of the NBCT "bonus."

The actual budget bill, SB 5048, was heard in the Senate Ways & Means committee on Tuesday afternoon. With over 100 people signed in to testify, including parents, teachers, students and representatives from all education stakeholder groups, testimony was limited to one minute per person. While commending the budget's focus on students, most testifying on the education portion of the budget expressed concerns or outright rejection of the proposal.

Following more than three hours of testimony on the proposed budget, the committee also heard testimony on SB 5875, a "trailing bill" that modifies SB 5607, the original education spending bill proposed by Senate Republicans.

On Wednesday afternoon, both budget bills were considered in an Executive Session that lasted well into the night. After numerous amendments, SB 5048 was passed out of committee on a vote of 12-11. SB 5875 passed out of committee on a vote of 13-10.

By the way, House Democrats are scheduled to release their budget on Monday.

Bills Making Progress
On Monday, HB 1046, which would decouple graduation requirements from statewide assessments, got a hearing in the Senate EL&K12 Education committee. OSPI chief, Chris Reykdal, provided testimony (beginning at 6:40) in favor of this bill, citing comparisons to high-stakes testing situations in other states and negative impact on drop-out rates. 

Additional testimony (beginning at 42:08) was provided by students, teachers, principals and superintendents from several school districts around the state who spoke in support of the bill, and a representative from the Association of WA School Principals, who testified as "other," citing school principals' mixed feelings. Representatives from the Washington Round Table, Stand for Children and the League of Education Voters testified against the bill.

On Tuesday, the Senate EL&K12 Education committee met in Executive Session to consider these bills:
  • HB 1654, which would change alternative routes to teacher certification program requirements to expectations for program outcomes, passed out of committee and was referred to the Rules committee for second reading.
  • HB 1732, which would protect the confidentiality of PGPs, passed out of committee and was referred to the Rules committee for second reading.
  • HB 1734, which would provide reimbursement for substitutes when teachers participate in PESB activities, passed out of committee and was referred to the Rules committee for second reading.
On Monday, SB 5070 , which would require paraeducators to meet certain minimum employment standards and provide specialty certificates, got a hearing (briefing beginning at 7:04, testimony at 1:27:25) in the House Education committee. Representatives from the WA Parent/Teacher Association  and the Public School Employees of Washington, as well as advocates for people with intellectual disabilities, testified in favor of this bill. A representative from WEA testified against this bill, while expressing support for the House version, HB 1115.
Also on Monday, the very busy Senate Ways & Means committee held a hearing on these bills:
  • SB 5853 (beginning at 29:20) would increase CTE credit equivalencies and further define allowable uses of CTE funding. Representatives from the Washington Business Alliance, the construction industry and tribal governments testified in favor of the bill. A representative from WEA testified as "other," citing concerns about unintended consequences that would hurt CTE programs.
  • SB 5891 (beginning at 37:28) would eliminate the high school science assessment as a graduation requirement. Representatives from AWSP, the SBE, OSPI and Stand for Children testified in favor of this bill. On Wednesday, during Executive Session, it was passed out of committee on a unanimous vote.
Odds and Ends
The Seattle Times' Ed Lab continue to provide weekly "McCleary Roundups". This week's article describes state legislators discussing McCleary at town hall meetings.

This post from the Hechinger Report describes a successful college-prep strategy for low income students at Spokane's Rogers HS. Great story!

And, you gotta watch these cutest little tap dancers do their thing at the release of the new state Arts standards!

Have a great weekend!

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Note about 
l egislative updates: 

CSTP relays these legislative updates to provide information on bills, budgets and legislative processes. CSTP doesn't have a legislative agenda, but does track legislative issues most relevant to teaching.