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School levies are a hot topic in Olympia and at legislators' town hall meetings

03/20/2019

Restoring local school levy flexibility remains a top WEA priority in the Washington Legislature.

Local levies allow voters to invest in the unique needs of the students in their community beyond the basic education funded by the state. Local voter-approved school levies fund additional teachers, librarians, school nurses, early learning, music, art and many other student needs.

The Legislature voted to restrict local school levies as part of its McCleary school funding package, which increased state funding for K-12 public schools. At the time, WEA members told lawmakers those levy limits were too severe; some school districts’ levy revenue has been cut by more than half.

Senate Bill 5313, which is being heard March 21 (tomorrow) in the Senate budget committee, would help by restoring some of the levy capacity districts lost under the new restrictions. [The bill is not perfect, and WEA is suggesting ways to improve it.]

Email your legislators and urge them to support school levy legislation.

At recent legislative town hall meetings, WEA members urged their legislators to restore levy capacity.

WEA Chinook UniServ Council reports: “WEA members from Aberdeen, Centralia, Tumwater, Olympia and North Thurston attended the 22nd Legislative District town-hall meeting. Members passionately lobbied for levy restoration, need for safe schools and for special education to be fully funded.”

Jenny Morgan 2019
WEA member Jenny Morgan testified on legislation de-linking testing as a high school graduation requirement.

Here is a list of additional legislative town hall meetings this month.

Besides levies, school safety and special education funding, WEA members have been lobbying for other priorities as well.

Jenny Morgan, a counselor from Capital High School in Olympia, testified March 20 in support of de-linking standardized tests from high school graduation requirements. She testified before the Senate education committee. Students who have met all other graduation requirements should be allowed to receive a diploma, she told legislators.

“I am pleased that our Legislature is working towards the removal of testing requirements for high school graduation,” Morgan said. “Capital High School has a 93 percent graduation rate. However, this year in our senior class we have approximately 37 students who as of today will not be able to attend their graduation ceremony and will not be able to graduate… although they have met every single graduation requirement except for one test.”

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