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How Whatcom lawmakers voted in Olympia

This week, in its first floor activity of the session, the Washington House passed a number of education-related bills, including HB 2366, to establish a task force for basic education funding. The Senate passed several non-controversial bills by 48-0 unanimous votes, with one member excused.

House Bill 2366: Concerning basic education obligations. Passed the House Jan. 25, 2016 by a vote of 64-34.

This bill establishes the Basic Education Funding Task Force to continue the work of the governor’s informal work group to make recommendations to the Legislature on implementing a program of basic education. It directs the Washington State Institute for Public Policy to contract for professional consulting services to collect and analyze school district data on K-12 staff compensation and requires the Legislature to act by the end of the 2017 session to eliminate school district dependency on local levies to fund basic education. Over-reliance on local levies is one of the major issues in the state supreme court’s McCleary decision, which held that school funding was not adequate or uniform. The bill was referred to the Senate Early Learning and K-12 Education Committee, which passed its own version of the plan, SB 6195, out of committee on Thursday. The Senate’s bill would push back the date for lawmakers to finish their work by one year to 2018.

40th Rep. Kristine Lytton, D-Anacortes: Yes

40th Rep. Jeff Morris, D-Mt. Vernon: Yes

42nd Rep. Vincent Buys, R-Lynden: No

42nd Rep. Luanne Van Werven, R-Lynden: No

House Bill 2214: Streamlining assessment requirements for high school students. Passed the House Jan. 25, 2016 by a vote of 87-10, one member excused.

This bill, which was first introduced during the 2015 legislative session and passed the House twice before, reduces the required number of standardized tests for high school students. It eliminates the biology end-of-course test requirement for high school graduation and discontinues the 10th-grade reading, writing and math assessments. It also provides for alternative ways students may earn the Certificate for Academic Achievement that is required for graduation. A student in the class of 2017 or a prior year may earn a CAA by means of: the assessments and alternatives that were available to the particular class if the student has met the standard or satisfied the alternative before the beginning of the 2016-17 school year; or by scoring a 3 or 4 on the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, earning an equivalent ACT or SAT score, taking and passing a locally determined course, or completing a dual credit course in which the student earns college credit. The House bill was referred to the Senate Early Learning and K-12 Education Committee on Jan. 26, 2016.

40th Rep. Kristine Lytton, D-Anacortes: No

40th Rep. Jeff Morris, D-Mt. Vernon: No

42nd Rep. Vincent Buys, R-Lynden: Yes

42nd Rep. Luanne Van Werven, R-Lynden: Yes

House Bill 1295: Concerning breakfast after the bell programs. Passed the House on Jan. 27, 2016 by a vote of 69-28, one member excused.

This bill passed the House during the 2015 legislative session, but did not advance in the Senate. It requires that high-needs schools offer school breakfast after the beginning of the school day, called Breakfast After the Bell, starting in the 2017-18 school year and provides for a start-up grant of $6,000 to each school implementing a Breakfast After the Bell program. The bill specifies that Breakfast After the Bell programs are not included within the obligation of the state for basic education funding. The House bill was referred to the Senate Early Learning and K-12 Education Committee on Jan. 29, 2016.

40th Rep. Kristine Lytton, D-Anacortes: Yes

40th Rep. Jeff Morris, D-Mt. Vernon: Yes

42nd Rep. Vincent Buys, R-Lynden: No

42nd Rep. Luanne Van Werven, R-Lynden: No

House Bill 1408: Concerning the development of a definition and model for “family engagement coordinator.” Passed the House on Jan. 27, 2016 by a vote of 77-20, one member excused.

Introduced and first passed during the 2015 legislative session, this bill requires the Office of the Education Ombuds to work with the Educational Opportunity Gap Oversight and Accountability Committee to recommend to the Legislature a definition and framework for a staff position that is variously referred to as “family engagement coordinator,” “parent and family engagement coordinator,” and “parent involvement coordinator.” The position would focus on encouraging parents, guardians, and families to understand and demonstrate the importance of education, to participate in their student’s learning process, and to become involved in school activities. The House bill was referred to the Senate Early Learning and K-12 Committee on Jan. 29, 2016.

40th Rep. Kristine Lytton, D-Anacortes: Yes

40th Rep. Jeff Morris, D-Mt. Vernon: Yes

42nd Rep. Vincent Buys, R-Lynden: Yes

42nd Rep. Luanne Van Werven, R-Lynden: Yes

House Bill 1345: Adopting definition of and standards for professional learning. Passed the House on Jan. 27, 2016 by a vote of 81-16, one member excused.

First passed during the 2015 legislative session, this bill defines “professional learning” as a comprehensive, sustained, job-embedded, and collaborative approach to improving teachers’ and principals’ effectiveness in raising student achievement. Under the bill, professional learning programs are required to foster collective responsibility for improved student performance and must comprise learning that is aligned with student learning needs, educator development needs, and school district or state improvement goals. The House Bill was referred to the Senate Early Learning and K-12 Education Committee on Jan. 29, 2016.

40th Rep. Kristine Lytton, D-Anacortes: Yes

40th Rep. Jeff Morris, D-Mt. Vernon: Yes

42nd Rep. Vincent Buys, R-Lynden: Yes

42nd Rep. Luanne Van Werven, R-Lynden: Yes

WashingtonVotes.org is a project of the Washington Policy Center.

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