Thursday, January 28, 2016

Change to SB 6195

Senate Republicans in the education committee voted out SB 6195 with significant changes. This is the bill that creates a framework for a final funding solution to McCleary. All four Senate Democrats voted against.

The changes include increasing the number of task force legislators who must agree with any recommendations that are to be forwarded to the 2017 legislature from 5 to 6.

Perhaps of more concern is the change which requires legislative action on local levies and levy assistance sometime in 2018. The original bill had action in 2017. The change includes  addressing the scheduled reductions in school district levy authority scheduled to roll back January 1, 2018. School districts have testified that the levy cliff must be addressed this session to avoid widespread school employee layoffs for the 2017-18 school year. 

Marie Sullivan
WSPTA Legislative Consultant

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Breakfast After the Bell Passed the House 69-28!

The state House of Representatives today passed HB 1295 by a 69-28 margin. The bill would create "breakfast after the bell" programs in high-needs schools across the state, and is one of the WSPTA's top 5 priorities this session.

Republican Camas Rep. Liz Pike offered an amendment to encourage school districts to give preference to breakfast foods that are healthy, fresh and Washington-grown. Her amendment was accepted, and is now incorporated into the bill.

HB 1295 would focus on schools where 70 percent of students are eligible for the federal free and reduced price meal programs. To help districts get started, the bill includes one-time start-up grants of $6,000. The estimated cost of the program is about $2.3 million.

The bill now moves to the state Senate and the Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee for consideration. 

The Senate includes a similar program in part 2 of SB 6244. This bill  doesn't specifically call out "breakfast after the bell" but refers to "nutritional enhancements." It has yet to be voted out of the Senate committee, and doesn't go as far as the House version.

Marie Sullivan
Legislative Consultant

Washington State PTA