Monday, January 23, 2017

Work Session “101” Continues, Some Bill Action

Most committees continued to have a mix of work sessions designed to bring new committee members and new legislators up to speed on a host of issues, including the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), K-12 budget briefings, getting to know the education players and their roles and responsibilities.   

Status of Top Five Legislative Priorities
1.       Social and Emotional Learning
·      HB 1377 would require first-class (student enrollment above 2,000) to provide at least one hour of professional collaboration for school counselors, social workers, and psychologists that focuses on recognizing signs of emotional or behavioral distress in students. Would create the professional collaboration lighthouse grant program to assist school districts with early adoption and implementation of mental health professional collaboration time. Would require the Professional Educator Standards Board (PESB) to convene a task force on school counselors, psychologists, and social workers.
·      HB 1518 would reconvene the Social Emotional Learning (SEL) benchmarks group to identify benchmarks for SEL throughout the calendar year for grades K-12. It also would create a summer Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP) program for K-12 school buildings, which would also incorporate SEL. Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) would be directed to have a technical assistance coordinator for SEL. 
2.      Amply Funding Basic Education
·      Several bills were introduced that would generate the revenues associated with Governor Inslee’s education budget.
·      SB 5297 is the Governor's compensation model bill. It would create a salary allocation model, starting in the 2017-18 school year; would fund 30 hours of professional development in 2017-18; 80 hours in 2018-19. Would fund (Beginning Educator Support Team) BEST mentors.
3.      Closing the Opportunity Gap
·      HB 1511 would generate additional funding under the Learning Assistance Program for students who are English Language Learners (ELL), homeless or in the foster care system.
·      SB 5348 would allow a student with special needs who earns a certificate of individual achievement to get: a diploma; transitional services for ages 18-21 when specified as needed in the IEP; and would allow school districts to get state and federal funds for the student while the student is getting transitional services.
4.      Standards for Para-educators
·      HB 1115 – scheduled for a public hearing on Thursday, January 26 at 8 a.m.
·      SB 5070 – WSPTA member Beth Sigall testified in favor.
5.      Breakfast after the Bell
·      HB 1508 – would create a mandate for schools that have 70 percent eligibility for Free and Reduced Price meals to offer a Breakfast after the Bell (BAB) program. Would include grants for schools that are affected, and would make time eating count as instructional hours if instruction is occurring. Also would seek to eliminate school lunch co-pays.   

2017 WSPTA Supported Issues:
·         Improving Educational Outcomes for Foster Children
o   HB 5241 would require school districts to consolidate partial credits, unresolved or incomplete coursework and provide opportunities for credit accrual that eliminates barriers to foster youth.
·         Engaging Families in Student Success – no legislation at this time.
·         Post-Secondary/Higher Education Access and Affordability
o   HB 1033 would change the amount of the State Need Grant students going to private four-year universities would receive (currently a higher dollar amount); the bill would make the grant award equal to lowest tuition charged at four-year public state university.
o   HB 1452/SB 5361 would expand the Opportunity Scholarship Program to include students pursuing professional technical degrees or professional technical certificates at institutions of higher education in programs approved by the State Board of Community & Technical Colleges.
o   HB 1512 would add 9th and 10th graders to the College Bound scholarship program if they were income ineligible in the 7th and 8th grades. Awards would be equal to tuition and fees for public community & technical colleges. It would cap attendance at two- and four-year institutions to four years of awards, and cap attendance in private vocational schools to two years of awards.
·         Removing Barriers to Implementing ECEAP
o   SB 5107 would allow local governments, school districts and non-profit organizations to pay for early learning programs, and would direct Dept of Early Learning to help increase access to early learning.
·         Restorative Justice and School Safety
o   HB 1310 would create the Students Protecting Students Program at OSPI, to provide students and the community with a way to relay information anonymously concerning unsafe, potentially harmful, dangerous, violent, or criminal activities, or the threat of these activities, to the appropriate schools or law enforcement agencies.

Week in Review
WSPTA signed in as support in the House on a bill related to family and medical leave. Member Beth Sigall testified at the Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee in support of the para-educators bill.

The Week Ahead
Monday, January 23
1:30 p.m., House Education, HHR A
Work Session: Educator Shortages, Part One.

1:30 p.m., Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education, SHR 1
Work Session: Career and Technical Education.
Public Hearing:
1.       SB 5183 - Concerning career and technical education funding.
2.      SB 5155 - Concerning suspension and expulsion of kindergarten and early elementary school students.

Tuesday, January 24
1:30 p.m., House Education, HHR A
Work Session: Educator Shortages, Part Two.

Thursday, January 26
8 a.m., House Education, HHR A
Public Hearing:
·         HB 1115 - Concerning para-educators.

Prepared by:
Marie Sullivan
WSPTA Legislative Consultant

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