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This Week in Olympia

Week of January 9

Don’t forget!

This coming Monday is the MLK Day Rally for Student Civil Rights and an Amply Funded Education, on the Capitol Steps from 10:30 to 11:30. If you are attending, remember to wear red for public ed and to bundle up for the weather.

Governor’s Budget

The first week in Olympia kicked off with a focus on the Governor’s budget in hearings and his second inaugural address, which we covered in this blog post. WEA President Kim Mead testified in both the House and Senate, noting:

“The governor’s proposal increasing educator pay will help to recruit and retain caring, qualified educators for our students,” Mead said. “The Governor also made significant investments in early class sizes and staff who support the social, emotional and health of our students – so that those students can arrive in classrooms ready to learn.”

We want to continue highlighting his $3.8 billion proposal as a means to keep and raise expectations for education funding that truly meets the needs of all Washington students.

Local Levies

Many districts are concerned that they will lose the higher levy authorization and that the legislature could once again balk on funding education. District budgeting schedules are driving an interest in having the legislature address the levy cliff early in the session. 

A hearing on HB 1059 (Lytton) was held on Wednesday and is also highlighted here.  WEA would support this bill as part of a more comprehensive package to adopt a stable funding solution for all districts that meets the McCleary promise of full funding.

Looking ahead

It’s early in the session and there are more work sessions than hearings on bills at this point. 

One bill to call attention to will be heard on Thursday, in the House Education Committee. HB 1046, (MacEwen), is a delink bill which is in line with our policies. 

Other bills introduced

At the beginning of every session, many bills are introduced that don’t go anywhere. Some we like and some we don’t.

WEA lobby staff actively monitor these bills to determine which ones, if any, could be positioned for action. If and when necessary, we will put the call out for members to send emails, make calls, testify at hearings, etc.

It is quite likely we will call upon WEA members to stand up for or against these bills. In addition to events like Monday’s rally, locals may be planning walk-ins and many councils are organizing public meetings with the community and your legislators in March. Talk to your local president to learn more. 

Senate Education Proposal?

We’ve heard that the Senate Republicans may introduce their education funding plan this week. If they stay in line with their previous statements, their plan will provide less money and come with poison pills, compared to the plan that Democrats already released. Stay tuned

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