Sunday, January 15, 2017

2017 Session Starts with Pomp, Work Sessions and Hearings

The 65th Washington State Legislature kicked off a 105-day session January 9, swearing in 18 new House and 12 new Senate members, one of the largest freshman classes for both chambers in many election cycles. The Senate is controlled by a Republican majority of 25-24, while the House majority is 50 Democrats to 48 Republicans. The slim majorities in both chambers, with control shared by both parties, likely will keep extreme policies from either side in check.

On January 11, five new separately elected officials were sworn in, including Chris Reykdal as the new Superintendent of Public Instruction. Democrat Jay Inslee was sworn in as Governor, and delivered his inaugural address the same day. Inslee mainly focused on getting the job done on public education funding, but also stressed the importance of addressing the mental health crisis, protecting those using the state’s affordable health exchange, reducing homelessness, and increasing jobs.

Status of Legislative Priorities
·         Social and Emotional Learning – no legislation yet; legislation is planned, including a JumpStart Summer ECEAP pilot program that includes a focus on social and emotional learning.
·         Amply Funding Basic Education
o   The Joint Education Funding Task Force wrapped up seven months of meetings without bipartisan recommendations or a report to the Legislature.
o   On January 4th, Democrats revealed a proposal, while Republicans shared Legislative Principles.
o   Republicans anticipate a proposal to be available no later than February 1st.
·         Closing the Opportunity Gap – no legislation yet; Governor’s budget provided additional funding to support closing the Opportunity Gap.
·         Standards for Para-educators – HB 1115 and SB 5070 have been introduced. The Senate Bill is scheduled for a hearing Thursday, January 19th at 1:30 p.m. WSPTA member Beth Sigall plans to testify in favor.
·         Breakfast after the Bell – no legislation yet; Representative Zack Hudgins is aware of WSPTA interest, desire to be part of the development of the legislation.

Supported Priorities:
·         Improving Educational Outcomes for Foster Children – the Governor’s operating budget included additional funding focused in this area.
·         Engaging Families in Student Success – the Governor’s operating budget included additional funding and a 1.0 FTE per prototypical school for use with school counselors, nurses, family engagement, psychologists, and social workers.
·         Post-Secondary/Higher Education Access and Affordability – the Governor’s operating budget maintained the tuition reductions put in place for the 2015-17 session and backfilled the financial impact of the tuition cuts to the state universities.
·         Removing Barriers to Implementing Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP) – the Governor’s operating budget includes funding for an additional 2,700 ECEAP slots. It also includes funding for summer ECEAP. The capital budget proposal includes funding for $26 million for early learning facilities.
·         Restorative Justice and School Safety – no legislation at this time.

Week in Review
While the session after a big election is usually a little slow, this week’s budget and policy committees started with public hearings on Governor Inslee’s proposed two-year spending plans for operations and construction/capital projects. Family and Community Engagement Director, Judy East, and Region Legislative Committee member, Erika Kapur, testified in favor of the Governor’s education budgets, citing areas of alignment with the legislative agenda adopted in October.

The Week Ahead
Next week has several work sessions on education 101, early learning, and recommendations from the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Delivery of Services to Families & Children. Of particular interest may be:

Thursday, January 19
8 a.m., House Education, HHR A
Work Session: Education Governance - Other Public Partners in the K-12 System.

Public Hearing:
1.      HB 1012 - Eliminating the use of the high school science assessment as a graduation prerequisite.
2.      HB 1023 - Concerning military student participation in varsity extracurricular activities.
3.      HB 1046 - Concerning certificates of academic and individual achievement.

8 a.m., House Labor & Workplace Standards, HHR E
Public Hearing: HB 1116 - Implementing family and medical leave insurance. – WSPTA sign in Support

1:30 p.m., Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education, SHR 1
Work Session: The State's plan to implement the Every Student Succeeds Act.

Public Hearing:
1.       SB 5064 - Concerning freedom of expression rights of students at public schools and institutions of higher education.
2.      SB 5107 - Creating a local pathway for local governments, school districts, and nonprofit organizations to provide more high quality early learning opportunities by reducing barriers and increasing efficiency.
3.      SB 5115 - Concerning school directors' compensation.
4.      SB 5070 - Concerning para-educators. – WSPTA to testify – Top 5

3:30 p.m., House Appropriations, HHR A
Work Session: Briefing on K-12 public school funding.

3:30 p.m., Senate Ways & Means, SHR 4

Work Session: K-12 Capital Budget Issues.

Prepared by:
Marie Sullivan
WSPTA Legislative Consultant
Email Marie

Friday, January 13, 2017

Legislative Committee Schedule: Week 2

January 16-20, 2017
  
Monday, January 16 – FOCUS DAY IN OLYMPIA!
1:30 p.m., House Education, HHR A
Work Session:
1.       An Overview of McCleary v. Washington.
2.       An Overview of K-12 Finance in Washington.

1:30 p.m., Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education, SHR 1
Work Session:
1.       Educational Opportunity Gaps in Washington's Public Education System.
2.       School District Successes and Challenges.

3:30 p.m., House Appropriations, HHR A
Work Session:
1.       Briefing on pensions.
2.       Briefing on the interplay between the operating and capital budgets.

Tuesday, January 17
8 a.m., House Early Learning & Human Services, HHR C
Work Session:
1.       Overview of the Economic Services Administration of the Department of Social and Health Services.
2.       Overview of the Office of Homeless Youth of the Department of Commerce.

8 a.m., House Higher Education, HHR D
Public Hearing:
1.       HB 1033 - Expanding access to the state need grant by modifying awards for students attending private four-year institutions of higher education.
2.       HB 1057 - Providing information to students about education loans.

1:30 p.m., House Education, HHR A
Work Session: The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and Washington's ESSA Consolidated Plan.

1:30 p.m., Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education, SHR 1
Work Session:
1.       State Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal on his 2017 priorities.
2.       Department of Early Learning Director Ross Hunter on his 2017 priorities.
3.       Office of the Ombuds.
4.       Professional Educator Standards Board.
5.       Charter School Commission.
6.       State Board of Education.

Wednesday, January 18
1:30 p.m., House Early Learning & Human Services, HHR C
Work Session:
1.       Presentation on home visiting programs.
2.       Overview of the Department of Early Learning.
3.       Recommendations of the Blue Ribbon Commission on Delivery of Services to Children and Families.

1:30 p.m., House Higher Education, HHR D
Work Session: Washington State Institute for Public Policy Reports on "Interventions to Promote Postsecondary Attainment: A Review of the Evidence and Benefit-Cost Analysis" and "Options for Higher Education Tuition Growth Factors."

3:30 p.m., House Appropriations, HHR A
Work Session:
1.       Briefing on higher education funding.
2.       Briefing on natural resources funding.

Thursday, January 19
8 a.m., House Education, HHR A
Work Session: Education Governance - Other Public Partners in the K-12 System.

Public Hearing:
1.       HB 1012 - Eliminating the use of the high school science assessment as a graduation prerequisite.
2.       HB 1023 - Concerning military student participation in varsity extracurricular activities.
3.       HB 1046 - Concerning certificates of academic and individual achievement.

8 a.m., House Labor & Workplace Standards, HHR E
Public Hearing: HB 1116 - Implementing family and medical leave insurance. – WSPTA sign in Support

1:30 p.m., Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education, SHR 1
Work Session: The State's plan to implement the Every Student Succeeds Act.

Public Hearing:
1.       SB 5064 - Concerning freedom of expression rights of students at public schools and institutions of higher education.
2.       SB 5107 - Creating a local pathway for local governments, school districts, and nonprofit organizations to provide more high quality early learning opportunities by reducing barriers and increasing efficiency.
3.       SB 5115 - Concerning school directors' compensation.
4.       SB 5070 - Concerning para-educators. – WSPTA to testify – Top 5

3:30 p.m., House Appropriations, HHR A
Work Session: Briefing on K-12 public school funding.

3:30 p.m., Senate Ways & Means, SHR 4
Work Session: K-12 Capital Budget Issues.
Friday, January 20
10 a.m., House Higher Education, HHR D
Work Session: Emerging Trends in Higher Education.

Prepared by:
Marie Sullivan
WSPTA Legislative Consultant
Email Marie

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Erika Kapur Testifies before Senate Budget Committee


Erika Kapur, a 45th legislative district constituent and Washington State PTA (WSPTA) Region 2 Legislative Chair, testified yesterday afternoon in support of Governor Inslee's proposed education budget. Her testimony can be found at 1 hour, 30 minutes into the Senate Ways & Means committee hearing; watch her testimony here.

Erika Kapur, Region 2 Legislative Chair Testifies
Like Judy East (WSPTA Family and Community Engagement Director) on Monday, Erika shared WSPTA how the Governor's proposal aligned with WSPTA priorities:

"This budget addresses many of the important elements of WSPTA's two-year platform, as voted on by our membership. These include:

  • A focus on social and emotional health with enhancements for family engagement coordinators, mental health, and counselors.
  • Improving student outcomes through Learning Assistance Programs, supports for foster youth, and career and technical training and career-ready pathways.
  • Investing in the professionals who educate our children by increasing the share of their compensation paid for by the state, supporting their professional development and providing mentoring programs for new teachers, and by offering additional training to para-educators.
  • Expanding access to Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP), which is one of the smartest investments the state can make.
  • Preserving the tuition reduction made in the last few years, ensuring continued access to higher education for learners from all backgrounds."

Marie Sullivan
WSPTA Legislative Consultant


Wednesday, January 11, 2017

ESSA Consolidated Plan to be Submitted September 2017

State Superintendent, Chris Reykdal, announced on January 10 that Washington State's Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Consolidated Plan will not be submitted to the Federal Department of Education until September 18, 2017.  Public comment on the plan can be submitted here; closes February 13.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

WSPTA FACE Director Testifies in Favor of Governor Inslee's Proposed Education Budget

Judy East, WSPTA FACE Director, testifying in Olympia
Judy East, WSPTA Family and Community Engagement Director, testified Monday in the House Appropriations Committee in support of Governor Inslee's proposed operating budget. In particular, Judy said:

"This budget addresses many of the important elements of WSPTA's two-year platform, as voted on by our membership. These include:
  • A focus on social and emotional health with enhancements for family engagement coordinators, mental health, and counselors.
  • Improving student outcomes through Learning Assistance Programs, supports for foster youth, and career and technical training and career-ready pathways.
  • Investing in the professionals who educate our children by increasing the share of their compensation paid for by the state, supporting their professional development and providing mentoring programs for new teachers, and by offering additional training to para-educators.
  • Expanding access to Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP), which is one of the smartest investments the state can make.
  • Preserving the tuition reduction made in the last few years, ensuring continued access to higher education for learners from all backgrounds."

Judy thanked the Governor for putting out the first bold proposal, and told legislators that WSPTA is ready to assist as they grapple with meeting the state's constitutional obligation to amply fund education for our students.


Her testimony can be found about 1 hour, 11 minutes into the TVW video.

Marie Sullivan
WSPTA Legislative Consultant

Friday, January 6, 2017

Legislative Committee Schedule: Week 1


January 9 - 13, 2017
Monday, January 9
9 a.m., Joint Education Funding Task Force, HHR A
Agenda:
1.       Discussion and adoption of Education Funding Task Force recommendations to the Legislature.
2.       Public comment.

1:30 p.m., House Education, HHR A
Work Session: An Overview of Washington's K-12 System.
1.       K-12 System Overview.
2.       Roles and Responsibilities for K-12 Education in Washington -- Part One.

3:30 p.m., House Appropriations, HHR A

Work Session:
1.       Introduction of members.
2.       Committee procedures and expectations.
3.       Presentation of the Governor's 2017-2019 biennial and 2017 supplemental operating budget proposals.

Public Hearing:
1.       Governor's 2017-2019 operating budget proposal.
2.       Governor's 2017 supplemental operating budget proposal.

The public hearing will be continued Thursday, January 12, if necessary.
                                                                                                                                                                      
Tuesday, January 10
1:30 p.m., House Education, HHR A

Work Session: Roles and Responsibilities for K-12 Education in Washington -- Part Two.
3:30 p.m., House Capital Budget, HHR B

Work Session: K-12 School Construction.
                                                                                                                                                                      
Wednesday, January 11
3:30 p.m., House Appropriations, HHR A

Public Hearing: HB 1059 - Delaying implementation of revisions to the school levy lid. (If measure is referred to committee.)

Work Session: Overview of the operating budget process, structure, and other considerations.

3:30 p.m., Senate Ways & Means, SHR 4
Public Hearing: Governor's Proposed Operating Budget.
1.       K-12 Public Schools.
2.       Higher Education.
3.       Early Learning.
4.       Employee Compensation.
5.       Mental Health.
6.       Other Human Services.
7.       Natural Resources.
8.      All Other.
                                                                                                                                                                        
Thursday, January 12
8 a.m., House Education, HHR A

Work Session: A History of Education Reform in Washington.

1:30 p.m., Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education, SHR 1
Work Session:
1.       Introductions.
2.       Committee Operating Procedures.
3.       Historical overview of education funding and governance of Early Learning and K-12 Education in Washington.
4.       2017-19 Operating Budget Overview.

3:30 p.m., House Appropriations, HHR A

Public Hearing: (continuation of Monday, January 9, public hearing if it is needed)
1.       Governor's 2017-2019 operating budget proposal.
2.       Governor's 2017 supplemental operating budget proposal.

Possible Executive Session:
HB 1059 - Delaying implementation of revisions to the school levy lid. (If measure is referred to committee.)

3:30 p.m., Senate Ways & Means, SHR 4

Public Hearing: Governor's Proposed Capital Budget.
1.       K-12 Public Schools.
2.       Higher Education.
3.       Mental Health.
4.       Natural Resources.
5.       All Other.
                                                                                                                                                                       
Friday, January 13
8 a.m., House Capital Budget, HHR B

Work Session: Presentation by the Office of Financial Management on Governor Inslee's proposed 2017-19 Capital Budget and 2017 Supplemental Capital Budget.

Public Hearing:
1.       Governor's Proposed 2017-19 Capital Budget and 2017 Supplemental Capital Budget.
2.       Governor's Proposed State General Obligation Bonds.