Legislative Session 2019
The Legislative Session ended on Sunday, April 28, 2019. More than 2,200 bills were introduced this session.  Twenty-eight bills that are aligned with PTA goals have now been signed into law.  The bills signed into law include bills affecting graduation requirements, education funding, and more.  Click here to access a document that details the bills that have been tracked by the PTA through the session.  To read a great article highlighting the key points of the passing bills click here.
Thanks to all who were actively engaged in this legislative session.  The letters, emails, and phone calls to legislators let them know we are watching and we care!  Have a great summer break, Echo Lake!
2019 State Legislative Session Recap

The 2019 Legislative Session came to an end in the last minutes of 4/28 with some good news for public education:

- Increase in local levy authority to enable districts to collect more local dollars to fill gaps that remain from state funding
- An increase of $150 million  in special education funding
- Increases in benefits for teachers and school employees
- Strong anti-harassment policies for transgender students
- Phasing out jail time for non-criminal offenses by youth
- Free community college / apprenticeship tuition for low-income families
- New revenue sources with a graduated real estate excise tax

More information is available here:  https://www.wastatepta.org/2019-legislative-session-ends-time-sine-die  
Many thanks to all who shared personal stories and contacted legislators during the session to urge them to fully fund public education and work on behalf of all students and families. Your voices had an impact and there was great progress because of it!
Legislative Update from Shoreline PTA Council

Many things are moving quickly and some great school-related bills are making it through:

- EHB 1074 / SSB 5057: Raise the Age to Buy Tobacco to 21 (a particular concern that was raised by all of the Shoreline HS Leg Chairs who are students themselves)
- SB 5689: Anti-Harassment/Intimidation/Bullying Policy for Transgender/Gender Non-Conforming Students
- SB 5082: Establishing a Social Emotional Learning Committee
- HB 1272: Extended School Lunch Durations (passed House, through Senate committee, on to Senate Floor)
- SB 5903: Concerning Children's Mental Health (passed Senate, through House committee, on to House Floor)

The top item for the legislature this year is to approve the new biennium (2 year) budget, including funding concerns for lifting the levy lid to give districts more flexibility for basic education, funding for K-3 class sizes reduction, special education funding, and new revenue sources (e.g. Capital Gains tax). 

>> HOUSE - While there are budget increases in their proposed budget, it does not fully fund basic education with funding for nurses, counselors, librarians, reduced class sizes and more. In addition, the amount given for Special Education ($70mil) is much lower than is needed ($235mil). The lid on local school levies they have put in place as part of the McCleary "fix" last year is capped at $1.50/thousand dollars of assessed property value. There are increases for Early Learning access.

>> SENATE - This budget gives a larger amount for special education ($156mil) but still does not get to the point of fully meeting the need. They are debating whether they can offer any levy lid flexibility to help districts fill gaps that still remain from the state and is still short on fully funding teacher benefits. This budget is also giving money to charter schools while still not fully funding public schools. There are funds for social emotional learning and universal highly capable screening. 

There have also already been attempts to add middle-of-the-night amendments to some bills to reduce teacher pay, reduce paraeducators, and provide funding to charter schools.

A side-by-side comparison can be seen here: https://bit.ly/2D50nUg  

Key budget related bills are:
- HB 1109: House Budget
- SB 5153: Senate Budget
- E2SSB 5091: Special Education Funding
- SB 5313: Levy Lid Flexibility
- SB 5961: Improving the equity and sustainability of WA's tax structure with a capital gains tax 
- SB 5395: Sex Health Education
- SB 5434: Prohibiting possession of firearms at any licensed child care center, child care transportation, or other child care facility
- SSB 5066: Simple Majority for School Bonds
There are many more. See the full list of bills being tracked by WSPTA: https://bit.ly/2KuhPb0
Bill Update: April 1, 2019
In Week 12 of the legislative session, House and Senate Democrats proposed operating and capital budgets.  These budgets include, but are not limited to, funding for special education, staffing, education levies, and early learning.  For more details about the specific budget allocations, please click here.
Bill Update: March 10, 2019
Several priority bills for Washington State PTA passed the March 1st fiscal cutoff, including bills that would increase special education funding, increase student staffing ratios, expand early learning program eligibility, pilot 20-minute seated lunch times in at least six demonstration sites, and improve school safety and safety planning.
For detailed information on current bill status, read here.
Focus Day
Unfortunately, Focus Day was cancelled due to weather and will not be rescheduled for the 2019 legislative session.  However, some legislators were available by phone to answer questions from the public.  The Shoreline Legislative Chair was able to teleconference with three of our legislators.  Below is a summary of the issues each legislator is focusing on this legislative session:
1.  Representative Valdez (46th District): His main focus on is on safety, preventing gun violence, and racial equality.  To get more information on the issues and bills supported by Rep. Valdez, visit his website at https://housedemocrats.wa.gov/valdez/.
2.  Representative Frockt (46th District):  His focus is on budget, financing, and levies/bonds.  To get more information on the issues and bills supported by Rep. Frockt, visit his website at http://sdc.wastateleg.org/frockt/.
3.  Representative Davis (32nd District):  Her focus is on social and emotional learning, behavioral health, and addictive substances.  To get more information on the issues and bills supported by Rep. Davis, visit her website at
The legislators also said that they were grateful for the personal stories that Shoreline residents shared with the PTA and reiterated their support of WSPTA's Top 5 Issues.
1. Social and Emotional Learning
2. School Construction Bonds
3. Preventing Gun Violence
4. Strategies to Prevent Teacher Shortage
5. Strategic K-12 Investments to Close Gaps
Also important in the 2019 legislative session are Special Education funding and continued work with McCleary.
Our Shoreline Legislative Chair was able to vocalize the importance of these top issues and asked the legislators for their continued support.
Please support our students by contacting these legislators to express the importance of the top five WSPTA issues.   
Shoreline PTA Legislative Calendar

One way to keep track of all PTA-related legislative events happening in Shoreline and Olympia is to add it into your Google calendar:



2019 Legislative Session
The 2019 Legislative Session opened on January 14th.  For details about current bill status go here.  Interested in testifying? Please contact WSPTA Advocacy Director Nancy Chamberlain at ptalegdir@wastatepta.org.

Legislative Tracking

WSPTA will be tracking all PTA related legislation through the session. You can subscribe to their Action Network group to receive updates about what is happening in Olympia that impacts our schools:


Your Experience Matters!

In February, Shoreline School District PTA members will be heading to Olympia to talk with our representatives about Washington State PTA's (WSPTA's) Top 5 Legislative Priorities. 

Time and again legislators have said how personal stories make the difference in creating and passing effective legislation that truly serves students and families.

 We will be talking with them about these priorities for the coming year:

  • Social Emotional Learning: Integrating social emotional learning and trauma informed practices in the education system.
  • School Construction: Assist districts with funding their capital needs to lower class sizes and address capacity, growth, modernization, and safety.
  • Prevent Gun Violence: Through prohibiting the sale of semi-automatic rifles to ages over 21, raising standards for semi-automatic rifle purchases, requiring safe storage, and other measures.
  • Strategies to Address the Teacher Shortage: Funding of recruitment scholarship programs, expansion of board approved conditional certificates and alternative routes to certification, and expansion of BEST grants to all schools.
  • Strategic K-12 Investments to Close Opportunity Gaps: Close special education funding gaps, expand high poverty learning assistance, include high mobility students in allocations, and other funding support to ensure all students have the opportunity to succeed. 

As we go to talk with our legislators on your behalf, what experiences would you like us to share with them to help them understand how legislative decisions regarding education are affecting your students, family, and/or community? 

Please send your thoughts and experiences to echolake.PTA.legislative@gmail.com so we can share them with our legislators in February and be a voice for your children. 


Legislative Assembly 2018

The Washington State PTA Legislative Assembly took place in Auburn on October 20th and 21st. PTA delegates from around the state caucused on issues and resolutions and voted on which items to include on the WSPTA 2018-2019 platform. Below is the 2018-2019 WSPTA platform as voted on by the delegates at the legislative assembly:

Legislative Principles

The Legislative Principles are the overarching goals of the WSPTA. All issues put forth by the WSPTA are in service to supporting the following areas of educational reform:

1. Budget, revenue, and funding
2. Parent and family involvement
3. Public education policies
4. Health and well-being of children and youth
5. Safe and nurturing environments for children and youth

Top Five Issues for 2018-2019

1. Social and Emotional Learning: A positive school climate includes intentional work on addressing safety, relationships, teaching and learning, discipline, and family and community engagement. This work can be accomplished through use of Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) skills, the implementation of Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS), and quality family and community engagement.

2. School Construction and Simple Majority for Bonds: WSPTA supports legislation or policies that address capacity, class sizes, growth, and safety by changing school construction bonds from super-majority (60%) to simple majority vote and supporting funding and construction programs.

3. Prevent Gun Violence: WSPTA supports legislation or policies that reduce dangerous access to firearms.  WSPTA also affirms the National PTA position statement on gun safety and violence prevention.

4. Strategies to Address the Teacher Shortage: WSPTA supports legislation or policies that recruit and retain effective educators, develop a diverse workforce, and ensure equity and access to educator preparation.  

5. Strategic K-12 Investments to Close Gaps: WSPTA supports legislation or policies that include non-regressive revenue sources for any new funds needed to close Special Education funding gaps, change the prototypical school model, and fund programs for high mobility and LAP students.  We will also advocate for policies that allow school districts to choose between the two enrichment levy caps and increase the Local Efforts Assistance (LEA) ceiling.

New Legislative Issues for 2018-2019

Best Practices for School Meal Policies:  WSPTA supports legislation related to the CDC/USDA recommendation for 20 minutes of seated lunch time and recess before lunch. WSPTA also supports policies that prohibit shaming students related to meal debt or practices such as "silent lunch."

Best Practices for School Recess:  The WSPTA supports legislation or policies that allow a minimum of 30 minutes of daily recess time for elementary school students, prohibits recess from being withheld due to academic or punitive reasons, and that specifies that recess be primarily unstructured and outdoors.

Engaging Families in Student Success: WSPTA supports legislation providing a clear definition and title for Family and Community Engagement ("FACE") Coordinators and expanding funding for at least one 1.0 FTE FACE Coordinator per school.  

Fund Paraeducator Training: WSPTA supports the full funding of the training requirements for paraeducators mandated by law, including the 28-hour fundamental course of study and the additional 70 hours of professional development required within the first three years of employment.

Increase Access to High-Quality Preschool: WSPTA supports legislation to ensure all preschool-age children in Washington state have access to high-quality preschool that addresses equity gaps and improves student outcomes.

Raise the Age of Tobacco and Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems to 21:  WSPTA supports legislation or policies that limit access, sale, and distribution of tobacco products and electronic nicotine delivery systems to ages of 21 and up and prohibit packaging and marketing targeted at youth.

Safe School Plans and Emergency Preparedness: WSPTA supports legislation or policies that support emergency preparedness in schools including planning, funding, and implementation. 

To learn more about the WSPTA platform and open issues, visit the Washington State PTA Advocacy page at https://www.wastatepta.org/ focus-areas/advocacy/.

2018 Legislative Session
The Washington State 2018 Legislative Session closed on March 8th.  ESSB 6362, the Legislature's attempt at satisfying McCleary, was signed into law by the Governor on March 27, 2018.  One important highlight of the 2018 session is that the 2018 supplemental budget will allow teacher salaries to be funded a year earlier than anticipated.
A couple of bills related to WSPTAs legislative priorities have also passed:
1.  HB 1377, which defines certain school positions such as social workers and psychologists in support of Social and Emotional Learning; 
2.  SB 6388 regarding paraeducator standards and training; and
3.  Breakfast After the Bell which allows children to eat breakfast after the bell resulting in more students being able to participate in breakfast each day.  This will be rolled out to high-poverty schools first.
Bills related to WSPTAs "also supported" positions have also passed:
1.  E2SSB 6162 which requires testing for dyslexia in K-12 schools starting the 2021-22 school year;
2.  The budget includes expanded state need grant for higher education funding; and
3.  ESHB 2610 which will require districts to increase access to free/reduced lunch programs and prohibit "lunch-shaming" or money collection for children under the age of 15.

The History of the McCleary Decision

In 2009, the Supreme Court decided that the Washington State Legislature was failing to meet its constitutional obligation to sufficiently fund education. The State was ordered to fully fund K-12 education by the 2017-2018 school year. It was determined by legislative study that adequately funding basic education in Washington by the 2017-2018 school year would cost $12,546 per student. It was further determined that to reach this goal the Legislature would need to reach particular benchmarks each year. By the end of the 2013-2014 school year, the Legislature had not reached any of these benchmarks.

The Supreme Court then found the Washington State Legislature in Contempt of Court for not fulfilling this obligation. It is important to note that the Supreme Court is not determining the State budget, rather it is enforcing the Constitution of the State of Washington that clearly states that the Legislature will amply fund education for each student in the state. In 2015, the Supreme Court began to sanction the State $100,000 a week until the State fulfilled its funding obligations

On July 14, 2016, the Supreme Court issued an order regarding McCleary. The State was ordered to take the following actions:

1. Make a decision on the placement of the 2017-2018 school year deadline (e.g. beginning of school year, end of school year, etc.);
2. Provide a sufficient plan to meet the funding goals;
3. Provide an estimate of education costs, including operations, capital costs, salaries, etc.;
4. Provide a list of what has already been adequately funded;
5. Provide a list of what has not been funded and a plan for how the State intends to meet this obligation; and
6. Make a case for dismissing the Contempt of Court Order and removing the sanctions.

A hearing on this matter took place on September 7, 2016. On October 6th, the Supreme Court made a final decision regarding the arguments put before it at this hearing. The Court stated that the State had failed to submit a complete plan for achieving full compliance with its constitutional duty to Washington students. The Court then ordered that it would not lift the $100,000 per day contempt sanction. In regards to the timing of the funding implementation, the Court stated that “the State has until September 1, 2018, to fully implement its program of basic education, and that the remaining details of that program, including funding sources and the necessary appropriations for the 2017-19 biennium, are to be in place by final adjournment of the 2017 legislative session.”

The full order can be found at the following link: 
http://www.courts.wa.gov/ content/publicUpload/Supreme% 20Court%20News/ 843627Order100616.pdf 

An agreement regarding McCleary was made at the end of the 2017 legislative session.  Some highlights from this agreement are below:
  • Increased K-12 funding by $7.3 billion over the next four years
  • Increased beginning teacher salary to at least $40,000 as well as other salary-related increases for educators
  • Increased funding to programs that close gaps by approximately $500 over the next four years
  • Increased funding for early learning by $25 million
  • Increased funding for higher education
  • New reporting requirements for accountability and transparency
For a more detailed outline of this agreement, view the 2017 Legislative Scorecard on the League of Education Voters website at http://educationvoters.org/ mccleary-resources/.  The McCleary Agreement Overview and Analysis is also a good reference for information regarding this agreement.
On October 24, 2017, further oral arguments took place on the McCleary case.  The State asked the Court to find them in compliance with the Court's previous ruling in McCleary.  The attorney for the Plaintiffs, Thomas Ahearne, argued that the State was still not in compliance.  You can read a summary of the hearing at https://www.wastatepta.org/state-assistant-attorney-general-asks-supreme-court-end-mccleary-case/. The Supreme Court issued their decision on these oral arguments on November 14th and decided as follows:
1.  The Court rejected the State's claim that it has satisfied Court orders in the McCleary case and should have the sanctions removed.
2.  The Court ordered that the State allocate an additional $1 billion in salary funding by the end of the 2018 legislative session.  The Court reiterated its right to impose further sanctions if this is not done.
3.  The Court stated that the legislature has to prove that its plan is adequate in practice in order for it to be judged constitutionally sufficient.  
On June 7, 2018, the Washington Supreme Court issued a final ruling that removed its jurisdiction from the McCleary case.  Essentially, the Court has determined that the State has complied with the Court's orders to implement a plan by September 1, 2018.  It also terminated the $100,000 per day penalty and authorized the use of funds in the penalty account for the support of K-12 education.  The Court, however, did not rule that the new funding plan satisfies the "ample funding" criteria as there is no evidence at this time that the new funding formulas will be sufficient.

The State is still under the burden of proving that they have met their obligation with the current plan.

For more information in depth information on how K-12 Finance affects the ample funding of education read the following 2015 booklet: http://leg.wa.gov/Senate/Committees/WM/Documents/K-12%20Booklet_2015%202-10-15.pdf

Constitutional Requirements for Basic Education in Washington- A Refresher!
The ten components of the State’s basic education program are:
1.   Pupil transportation
2.   Materials, Supplies, and Operating Costs (MSOCs)
3.   Full-Day Kindergarten
4.   K-3 class sizes of 17 students per classroom
5.   Special education
6.   Remediation (Learning Assistance Program/LAP)
7.   Transitional Bilingual Education (Transitional Bilingual Instructional Program/TBIP/English Language Learners/ELL)
8.   Highly capable student instruction
9.   Core 24 (increasing high school graduation requirements from 20 credits of instruction to 24)
10. Compensation sufficient to attract, recruit, and retain competent teachers, administrators, and staff to implement the above components.