Legislative Update for March 26, 2021

Roz Thompson, Governmental Relations & Advocacy Director, AWSP
Mar 26, 2021

leg update blog

It was a busy, busy week in the Legislature with committees having to pass policy bills out by today, Friday, March 26. Several bills were changed significantly by the opposite house, particularly SB 5044 – related to professional learning on topics of equity and cultural competency – and SB 5265, which creates a bridge year program for an additional year of high school. In addition to work on policy bills, both the Senate and the House released their operating, supplemental, capital, and transportation budgets. Next week will be busy as fiscal committees have to meet the deadline of Friday, April 2 to pass bills out of these committees.


The House is expected to release its operating budget (PSHB 1094) at 3:00 pm today (here's a quick summary from LEAP). The Senate operating budget was released yesterday. This is a high-level summary of PSSB 5092 (Proposed Substitute Senate Bill), with key budget items included by the Senate Ways and Means Committee.

We appreciate the attention paid to providing stable funding for transportation and enrollment, as well as support for key programs that support principals and students. Funding is provided for principal internships, mentorships, continued professional learning through the inclusionary practices project, and the Washington State Leadership Academy. Our students will be supported with funds for more elementary school counselors and funds to support the Cispus Learning Center, the Association of Washington Student Leaders, and outdoor education. Our state’s improved revenue forecast along with an influx of federal dollars help make this support possible.

Here are additional details:

FEDERAL ESSER GRANTS | $1.74 BILLION (2021–23) | $1.67 billion of federal funding allocated by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 and $74.2 million of federal funding allocated by the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act is provided to assist school districts with response to the COVID–19 pandemic.

TRANSPORTATION STABILIZATION | $299 MILLION (2021 SUPPLEMENTAL), $58.9 MILLION (2021–23) |One-time funding is provided for one-time pupil transportation payments to school districts to address lower pupil transportation payments for the 2020–21 school year.

SCHOOL FUNDING STABILIZATION | $190.7 MILLION (2021–23) |One-time funding is provided to ensure school districts receive at least $1,500 per pupil for COVID–19 relief funding when combined with federal relief dollars.

ACCELERATED LEARNING | $217.8 MILLION (2021–23) |One-time funding is provided for learning recovery and acceleration to address student learning loss.

COUNSELORS FOR HIGH POVERTY ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS | $32.8 MILLION (2021–23), $86.3 MILLION (2023–25) |Funding is provided to allocate an additional 0.5 FTE counselor per prototypical school for all high-poverty elementary schools. This additional funding increases counselor staffing per prototypical school for high poverty elementary schools above the amounts specified in RCW 28A.150.260.

SPECIAL EDUCATION PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT | $12 MILLION (2021–23) |Funding is provided for professional development to promote the inclusion of students requiring special education within the general education classroom.

PARAEDUCATOR TRAINING | $14.8 MILLION (2021–23), $32.1 MILLION (2023–25) |Funding is provided for two days of training in the Paraeducator Certificate Program in fiscal year 2023 and two days each year thereafter. Funding is also provided to develop a course to provide online training to paraeducators on effective community, family, and student engagement.

SPECIAL EDUCATION TRANSITION SERVICES | $24 MILLION (2021–23) |Federal funding is provided for extension of transition services for students with disabilities who turned age 21 during the 2019–20 or 2020–21 school years and did not graduate with a regular diploma. 6

COMMUNITY LEARNING CENTER | $18.5 MILLION (2021–23) |Federal funding is provided for the community learning center program for the purpose of supporting afterschool programs.

OUTDOOR EDUCATION | $18 MILLION (2021–23) |Federal funding is provided for outdoor education summer enrichment programs for youth.

SUMMER REENGAGEMENT | $17.7 MILLION (2021–23) |Federal funding is provided for the establishment of a summer reengagement grant program for the purpose of assisting school districts in facilitating a week-long program in schools for students to reengage in learning, physical activity, and social interaction. 

These bills still remain alive for this session:

House bills in the Senate:

HB 1028 | Repealing the EdTPA
HB 1085 | Students with seizure disorders
HB 1113 | Concerning school attendance
HB 1121 | Emergency graduation waiver
HB 1139 | Taking action to address lead in drinking water
HB 1162 | Concerning high school graduation credit (20 credits) and pathway options (performance exhibition)
HB 1176 | Access to higher education (fines and fees)
HB 1208 | Modifying the learning assistance program
HB 1213 | Expanding accessible, affordable child care and early learning
HB 1214 | Providing K–12 public school safety and security services by classified staff
HB 1225 | School-based health care centers
HB 1273 | Concerning menstrual products in schools
HB 1295 | Concerning institutional education
HB 1302 | Concerning college in the high school programs
HB 1325 | Implementing policies related to children and youth behavioral health
HB 1342 | Eliminating lunch copays for students who qualify for reduced-price lunches
HB 1356 | Prohibiting the inappropriate use of Native American names, symbols, or images as public school mascots, logos, or team names
HB 1365 | Procuring and supporting appropriate computers and devices for public school students and staff
HB 1373 | Promoting student access to information about behavioral health resources
HB 1426 | Continuing education requirements for administrators and teachers
HB 1476 | Addressing enrollment declines
HB 1484 | Concerning the statewide first responder building mapping information system

Senate bills in the House:

SB 5030 | Comprehensive school counseling programs
SB 5043 | Providing housing to school district employees
SB 5044 | Professional learning related to equity, cultural competency, and dismantling institutional racism in schools
SB 5128 | Concerning student transportation funding
SB 5184 | Establishing a point of contact in all K–12 schools for students in foster care
SB 5202 | Establishing school district depreciation subfunds for the purposes of preventative maintenance
SB 5237 | Expanding accessible, affordable child care and early childhood development programs
SB 5242 | Supporting media literacy and digital citizenship
SB 5249 | Mastery based learning
SB 5265 | Creating a bridge year pilot program
SB 5299 | Allowing computer science courses as a third year of either a math or science graduation requirement
SB 5322 | Prohibiting dual enrollment between SEBB and PEBB
SB 5327 | Creating a confidential youth safety and well-being tip line
SB 5376 | Promoting awareness of the governor’s office of the education ombuds 

More Links

  • LU2021
  • Budget
  • Advocacy & Legislation

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