Message to Washington legislators: Restore school levy flexibility!
As school districts release their budget projections, WEA members across Washington have a message for legislators: Please restore levy flexibility so local voters can continue meeting the needs of their students beyond state-funded basic education.
It’s about halfway through the 2019 legislative session, and while there are several levy-related bills, none of them has passed yet.
In 2017, the Legislature voted to dramatically restrict local school levies as part of its McCleary school funding package. WEA agrees with administrators and school boards that the levy restrictions went too far, and we’re working with legislators to restore levy flexibility.
Local voter-approved school levies fund additional teachers, librarians, school nurses, early learning, music, art and many other student needs, including special education.
2nd Substitute Senate Bill 5313 would set a district’s levy capacity at an amount equal to 20 percent of a school district’s total state and federal funding, or $3,500 per student.
More than 1,000 WEA members have emailed their legislators urging them to approve 2SSB 5313 or similar legislation. We need more emails than that!
“Because of changes in levy allocation, there is no longer ANY type of music education available (in my district),” wrote one educator. “Please support Senate Bill 5313, which restores much-needed local levy flexibility so school districts can meet the unique needs of our students beyond state-funded basic education.”
Other active school funding bills include 2SSB 5091, which would provide a small increase in state funding for special education students. A WEA priority, 2SSB 5393, would expand financial aid for college students. The Senate may vote on both bills soon.
Federal Way Education Association member Kyleigh Wardwell supports increased funding for special education students. Watch the YouTube video she recorded in the capitol rotunda on WEA Member Lobby Day: