Washington State PTA Legislative Report
Governor Inslee Governor Jay Inslee signed into law ESHB 1368, putting $2.2 billion into play across the state for activities related to economic and small business recovery, reopening schools, rental assistance, and COVID-related contact tracing, testing and vaccinations.The bill provides $714 million in assistance to K-12 schools. Read more about bills still active this session in the weekly WSPTA Legislative Report.
WSPTA Action Alert on Gun Safety
Every other day, a Washington child or youth dies at the hand of a firearm. High-capacity magazines make shootings more deadly and allow shooters to fire more rounds, faster. The Washington Post estimates that more than 240,000 American students have now experienced gun violence at school, including nearly 7,000 students in Washington. We have the opportunity to restrict the access of these most deadly weapons in SSB 5078, which would limit the sale and transfer of high-capacity magazines over 17 rounds. This common-sense legislation was requested by our Attorney General’s office. Please click here to take action and contact your representatives and ask for their support.
Advocate for Emergency Relief Funds for SPS
Please reach out to your legislators and advocate for the state to hold our district harmless for the loss of enrollment and bus ridership, therefore granting SPS the full amount of federal funds for Covid relief. We expect students to return to public school after the pandemic, and we need sufficient funding to address learning loss, to support the transition back to school, and to address all the unexpected costs that this pandemic has heaped on our schools. The federal government has allocated two rounds of Elementary and Secondary Emergency Relief (ESSER I and II) funds to Washington State. The state designated a total of $52,097,212 of ESSER I and II funds to Seattle Public Schools. However, instead of allowing SPS to use these funds to cover the extra school costs associated with the pandemic, the state is designating $17,002,203 for estimated enrollment decline and $22,832,766 for estimated transportation decline, leaving only $12,262,243. This remaining sum is not enough to cover the extra costs associated with the pandemic, and will result in major budget deficits going forward.
Washington State PTA Legislative Report
The latest WSPTA Legislative Report focuses on the passage of ESHB 1368 - the federal stimulus appropriations act. This bill will distribute $688 million in federal funds to school districts. In order to receive funds, districts will need to submit an updated reopening plan by March 1 and a student learning loss recovery plan by June 1. Some other bills of note are:
HB 1139 would require districts to take action to address lead in drinking water. The bill passed out of committee as amended.
HB 1214 would require school districts to offer expanded training for school resource officers and safety and security staff within six months of their start in a school. An amendment made other changes that can be viewed here, including one advanced by WSPTA in testimony.
SB 5299 would allow students to use computer science credits in lieu of the third math or science credit. The bill passed unanimously and was sent to the Rules Committee.
HB 1054 would ban the use of chokeholds, tear gas, neck restraints, and no knock warrants. It would also restrict shooting at moving vehicles, restrict hot pursuits, and require all officers to have visible identification.
WSPTA Advocacy Issue: Prevent and Reduce Gun Violence and Suicide
WSPTA Increasing Educational Equity by Closing the Digital Divide
Washington State PTA shall support legislation, policies, and funding that ensure equitable digital inclusion and access for all students, families, and staff. Get more details about the digital divide in this handout, or by watching this short video.
Subscribe to the Action Network to participate in timely action alerts through the session. As a bonus, subscribers to the Action Network receive the new “Focus on Advocacy” newsletter.
Advocacy questions can be directed to WSPTA Advocacy Director Sherry Rudolph.
RHS PTSA in-Person Survey results: We received 582 responses! Of these 74% were very likely or likely to return to school buildings part time, and 68% full time. These numbers were slightly lower when schedule or teacher changes were considered. About 17-20% of respondents were unlikely or very unlikely to return to school under any of these conditions. We also found that 31% of special education families who are not currently receiving in-person services feel that it is important or very important that they receive those services. Lastly, the vast majority of families indicated that they are not receiving enough information from the district about plans and procedures for a return to buildings. You can find the complete survey results here.
Washington State PTA Adopts A New Two-Year Legislative Platform
On Oct 24th and 25th PTA leaders from across Washington State - including Roosevelt - met to vote on a new legislative platform at the WSPTA Legislative Assembly. We voted on Legislative Issues, which are part of our short-term two-year legislative platform, as well as Resolutions and Legislative Principles, which are permanent and guide our long-term advocacy.
Eight new Legislative Issues were adopted, five of which were selected to be issues of priority (see below). We also adopted a new Legislative Principle committing WSPTA to support anti-racism, anti-discrimination, and anti-oppression; and eight new Resolutions, including one on “Dismantling Institutional and Systemic Racism.” You can find the full text of the 2020/21 Legislative Issues here, and the complete list of Resolutions here. Please stay tuned for advocacy opportunities throughout the rest of the year, and sign up to get timely advocacy action alerts from WSPTA.
Also Supported List
Grassroots Advocacy. Powered by PTA.
The issues that did not make the top five form our 'also supported' list. Here are the issues in alphabetical order:
Equitable Identification and Services for Highly Capable Students
Mitigating the Adverse Impacts of Climate Change
Safe School Plans and Emergency Preparedness
The new legislative principle, "Anti-racism, anti-discrimation, anti-oppression," was approved to be added to the Safe and Nurturing Environments for Children and Youth category. The Legislative Principles webpage has been updated. In addition, the resource document located on that page is updated and available for local PTAs and councils to use.
Eight new resolutions and one amended resolution were approved this past weekend. The Resolutions webpage has been updated with the titles of the new resolutions, and are identifiable as *new* or *amended* or *retired*. The full text documents will be linked to these titles by the end of the week for members, local PTAs, and councils to use in their advocacy efforts.