Legislator town halls are coming this weekend– please consider attending to share your support for fully funding basic education – check the Grassroots Blog for details!!
The E-Wire is again down in Olympia for the first round of hearings of bills from the opposite house. The Graveyard of bills has grown to epic proportions – of the 275 bills we were following, only 98 remain alive at this moment plus one bill, The Dream Act, which is on the Governor’s Desk. This morning, the House Education Committee heard 7 bills including the Senate Version of the Paraeducator Bill. Director Krainick testified on two of these: Paraeducators and Expanded Learning Opportunities. This afternoon, the fun extends to the House Bills in the Senate with 10 bills in the Senate and we are expected to testify on Paraeducator (House Bill) and Improving Educational Outcomes for Homeless Students.
House and Senate Hearings on bills will continue until next Friday when the 2nd and final legislative cut-off ensues. So far, the only version of any budget released from either the House or the Senate is the Transportation Budget which has a clause allowing for sales tax dollars collected on Transportation Projects to be reinvested in the transportation fund. This is contrary to current state policy which moves that funding into the General Fund where most of it is utilized in Education. At the moment, this piece of the package is a non-starter with the Senate Democrats and the House – but… it is early.
Speaking of budgets, the Economic and Revenue Forecast Council met today – revenues are up, so are caseloads. Sounds like a broken record. Nick Federici who follows these committees for us quoted both Senate Ways and Means Chair Andy Hill and House Appropriations Chair Ross Hunter. Their quotes are below:
“Rep. Hunter indicated that this was ‘not much change’, and that a supplemental budget was needed to factor in any caseload changes and emergencies like fires that were not dealt with in last year's budget.”
“Sen. Hill added that this was ‘just a minor adjustment’, and when asked whether this changed his assumptions about the need to do a supplemental budget, responded, ‘If we do it, it will just be to deal with caseload changes, any emergencies, and one-time opportunities that will save money in the future’.”
So, more to come there. We think?
Top Story – Two Big Actions – One in the House (Dream Act) and one in the Senate (Failure of the Teacher Principal Evaluation NCLB Waiver Fix Bill) and both have broad implications. Watching the Dream Act Pass in the House last night was sheer pleasure, and was a happier place to spend my time than to watch the drama unfold in the Senate (Translation: I opted to watch an episode of Glee over taking in the Season Finale of House of Cards – TIVO right?). I have my take on the T/PEP bill and you can catch it below the fold.
Here is the aggregate for both bills from Publicoa - http://www.seattlemet.com/news-and-profiles/publicola/articles/tuesday-jolt-februaryteacheevalgoesdown-2014 - House Democrats giddy over the Passage of the Dream Act (and why not, last night former House Higher Ed Chair and retired legislator Phyllis Kenney watched in the wings the passage of her latest hurrah and Speaker Chopp opened the legislative session by voting out the act as his first order of business) - http://housedemocrats.wa.gov/the-advance/dream-act-is-on-the-governors-desk/ - TVW on the Dream - http://capitolrecord.tvw.org/2014/02/real-hope-act-washington-version-of-dream-act-passes-house/#.UwT9mfldWE4 – TVW reviews the Failure of SB 5246 - http://capitolrecord.tvw.org/2014/02/senate-rejects-changes-to-teacher-evaluations-19-to-28/#.UwT9o_ldWE4 – as does the TNT - http://www.thenewstribune.com/2014/02/18/3054728/wa-senate-kills-attempt-to-keep.html and the Everett Herald - http://www.heraldnet.com/article/20140218/NEWS03/140219011/Senate-defeats-teacher-evaluation-bill - WEA’s position here - http://ourvoicewashingtonea.org/
So, with the failure of the changes to the Teacher and Principal Evaluations, the question is now what? Well, lots. There is still ongoing discussions with the Fed’s about Washington keeping the Waiver. This wouldn’t result in a loss of funding as some people have indicated, but rather it would add restrictions on how the money could be utilized. The legislature still has 22 days left to come up with a solution if they need to, and already members from both parties are trying to come up with ideas that are politically palatable. Time will tell what exactly that looks like.
Onto the E-Wire
The Bellingham Herald tries to unpack the logic of Tim Eyman - http://www.bellinghamherald.com/2014/02/18/3459125/because-the-people-said-so-thats.html
AWB discusses the Opportunity and Skills Gap
New Study Studies shows that grades are a better predictor of college success than test scores
Seattle School Bus Drivers looking to strike
Early Learning Bill Also Passes House - http://capitolrecord.tvw.org/2014/02/boost-of-early-learning-passes-house/#.UwT9pfldWE4 and we are ahead of the game here - http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/early_years/2014/02/only_pa_links_data_for_young_children_states_should_do_more_study_says.html
Something to watch - http://www.king5.com/news/local/Seattle-Childrens-seeing-an-increase-in-youth-sports-injuries-245994231.html
Where to put your best and brightest
Representative Carlyle Bill on Tax Preferences passes House - http://www.spokesman.com/blogs/spincontrol/2014/feb/18/house-calls-more-info-tax-preferences/
Part Four on Kitsap Sun’s series of articles on Student Discipline - http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/2014/feb/18/bremerton-teacher-focuses-on-doing-discipline/#axzz2tgwuqYTf
And finally – Union Gap School is the test case for School Security planning nationwide
The E-Wire is written by PTA Legislative Staff and Edited by PTA Legislative Director Sherry Krainick. Got questions?! E-mail Director Krainick at PTALEGDIR@wastatepta.org