Education

Ensure the state continues fully funding education. Support student health and safety legislation.

Issue Team Chair: Catherine Ahl – cathahl [at] hotmail.com – (360) 697-7924
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Right Now In Education

During this Legislative session we are watching for corrections or additions to the recent funding plan (McCleary). 

SB 5091 Increases special education funding by increasing the allocation for each special-education student to double what is received for other pupils. The bill also would allocate additional funding to schools with students whose needs warrant costlier, individualized education programs. This will be heard in the House Education Committee on March 19 at 3:30pm.

HB 1638 Eliminates the philosophical or personal objection for measles, mumps and rubella vaccines required to attend school. It has been referred to the Senate Health & Long Term Care Committee but no Hearing has been scheduled yet. The hope is that an amendment will be offered to cover all vaccines.

SB 5395 Requiring comprehensive sexual health education in all schools. After a contentious floor debate, the Senate passed this bill 28-21. This bill was heard in the House Education Committee on March 12. This will require a curriculum that is evidence-informed, inclusive for all students, age appropriate, and is consistent with the state health and physical education learning standards. School districts must grant a parent’s request to have their child excused from this class.

Bills the League Supports

These bills have passed their respective house. 

  • HB 1638 Eliminates the philosophical or personal objection for measles, mumps and rubella vaccines required to attend school.  The hope is that an amendment will be offered to cover all vaccines. Passed the House, 57-40, 1 excused. 
  • SB 5091 Increases special education funding by increasing the allocation for each special-education student to double what is received for other pupils. The bill also would allocate additional funding to schools with students whose needs warrant costlier, individualized education programs. Passed the Senate 46-0, 3 excused.
  • SB 5395 Requiring comprehensive sexual health education in all schools. Passed the Senate 28-21.
  • SB 5141 Defines the duties of a School Resource Officer (SRO) and requires school districts choosing to have a SRO to ensure that the SRO goes through the training described in the bill. Passed the Senate 48-0, 1 excused.
  • SB 5514 Requires first responder agencies to notify all known schools in the vicinity, including private schools, if there is a situation for which an evacuation or lockdown appears reasonably necessary. Passed the Senate 48-0, 1 excused. 
  • SB 5532 Requires that special-education advisory committees be created in each school district, access to advocates to help families navigate the special-education system, and professional development for all teachers. Passed the Senate 46-0, 3 excused.
Bills the League is Watching
  • HB 1216 Would establish statewide network for school safety with a state center, regional centers through the educational service districts, and an advisory committee and requires school districts to establish school-based threat assessment programs.
  • SB 5313 Would allow a school district to choose a maximum levy lid of either 20 percent of the total state and federal funds, or $3,500 per pupil. This didn’t pass out of the Senate Ways & Means Committee but is said to be Necessary To Implement the Budget (NTIB) and is being negotiated.
Bills the League Supported Which Did Not Pass
  • SB 5315 Would have increased the number of nurses, social workers, psychologists, counselors and other student support staff who support the mental, behavioral and physical health and safety of students. 
  • SB 5841 Would have eliminated the philosophical or personal objection for all vaccines required to attend school. We supported this bill over HB 1638 because it covered all vaccines, not just measles, mumps and rubella.
For those of you wanting to know more about Special Education funding and problems with Levies and Levy Equalization watch this excellent work session by the Senate Ways & Means Committee including presentations by the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI), school superintendents, a school psychologist, and a special education teacher. 

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The League of Women Voters of Washington Education Fund is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. LWVWA Education Fund contributions are tax-deductible to the extent allowable by law. The League of Women Voters Education Fund does not endorse the contents of any web pages to which it links.

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