Posts Tagged 2016 Legislative session

McCleary Resources

Children standing in front of a chalkboard - League of Education VotersIn McCleary v. State of Washington, the Washington Supreme Court ruled that because the state government is not providing sufficient education funding, it is violating the state’s constitution. Further, the Court found that inadequate funding from the state is leading to inequalities and disparities between wealthy and poor school districts, because some districts are only able to raise a fraction of the money through local levies as other districts, despite having a higher local levy tax rate.

The Court has ordered the state to address this issue by increasing education funding and reducing reliance on local levies to pay for teacher salaries and other basic education essentials. Estimates say that complying with the Court’s decision will require the state to spend an additional 1.5 – 2 billion dollars more per year on public education.

Resources that will help clarify the debate over education funding:

McCleary Explained

Glossary of Key Education Terms

Definition of Basic Education

See how much Washington state spends per student in your district

Side-by-Side of Education Funding Proposals

Local Levy FAQ

LEV’s Perspective on the Latest Supreme Court McCleary Response



Our view on McCleary opportunities:

Rethinking Our Education System

Teachers: The Most Important Part of Our Education System

Every Student Needs an Effective Teacher

Great Teachers Need Great Preparation

Student Supports, an Integral Component of Basic Education


Presentations on education funding by the LEV Policy Team:

TVW: League of Education Voters McCleary Presentation (November 18, 2016)

  1. I Can See McClear-ly Now: A look at the education funding debate in Washington, gives you an in-depth look at how we got where we are today.
  2. We Can Work it Out: A long and winding road to funding basic education, covers whether our current education funding structure is fair and whether the system benefits all kids.


Other resources:

LEVinar on The McCleary Task Force: What to Expect Archived Recording | Presentation Slides

McCleary Education Funding Task Force Duties and Responsibilities

Senate Bill 6195, which created the Education Funding Task Force

Our view on NPR Education’s School Money series: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

A summary of our November 2016 field trip to California, Education Funding Takeaways from California

Posted in: Blog, Funding, Legislative session

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Significant update to Washington state school discipline policy

Governor Jay Inslee signs Opportunity Gap House Bill 1541 into law, with (l-r) Rep. Lillian Ortiz-Self, Rep. Sharon Tomiko Santos and Rep. Tina Orwall

Governor Jay Inslee signs Opportunity Gap House Bill 1541 into law, with (l-r) Rep. Lillian Ortiz-Self, Rep. Sharon Tomiko Santos and Rep. Tina Orwall

During the 2016 session, the Washington legislature passed Opportunity Gap House Bill 1541, which includes significant changes to student discipline laws.

These changes also affect the rules for student discipline (Chapter 392-400 WAC) and student enrollment reporting for state funding (WAC 392-121-108) during the period of suspension and expulsion. The Washington Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) will align the rules with this new law before the upcoming school year. OSPI will provide further clarification through additional rulemaking during the 2016–17 school year.

Below is summary of changes effective June 9 that impact the 2016–17 school year. For more information, see OSPI Bulletin No. 024-16.

Limitations on Long-Term Suspensions and Expulsions

A long-term suspension or expulsion must not exceed the length of an academic term, as defined by the school board, from the time of the disciplinary action. This shortens the maximum length of a suspension or expulsion from the prior limitation of one calendar year.

School districts must not use long-term suspension or expulsion as a form of discretionary discipline. “Discretionary discipline” is a disciplinary action taken by a district for student behavior that violates the rules of student conduct, except for actions taken in response to:

  1. A violation of the prohibition against firearms on school premises, transportation, or facilities;
  2. Certain violent offenses, sex offenses, offenses related to liquor, controlled substances, and toxic inhalants, and certain crimes related to firearms, assault, kidnapping, harassment, and arson;
  3. Two or more violations within a three-year period of criminal gang intimidation or other gang activity on school grounds, possessing dangerous weapons on school facilities, willfully disobeying school administrators or refusing to leave public property, or defacing or injuring school property; or
  4. Behavior that adversely impacts the health or safety of other students or educational staff.

Except for in response to the above, school districts may no longer use long-term suspension or expulsion. Even for any of the violations above, districts should consider alternative actions before using long-term suspension or expulsion, except for violation of the prohibition against firearms on school premises.

Possession of a telecommunication device and violation of dress and grooming codes are removed from the list of discretionary violations that, if performed two or more times within a three-year period, may result in long-term suspension or expulsion.

Requirement to Provide Educational Services

School districts may not suspend the provision of educational services as a disciplinary action, whether discretionary or nondiscretionary.

While students may be excluded from classrooms and other instructional or activity areas for the period of suspension or expulsion, districts must provide students with an opportunity to receive educational services during that time.

If educational services are provided in an alternative setting, the alternative setting should be comparable, equitable, and appropriate to the regular education services a student would have received without the exclusionary discipline.

Reengagement Plan and Meeting

School districts must convene a reengagement meeting with the student and family when a long-term suspension or expulsion is imposed.

Families must have access to, provide meaningful input on, and have the opportunity to participate in a culturally sensitive and culturally responsive reengagement plan.

Policies and Procedures

School districts must:

  1. Annually disseminate school discipline policies and procedures to students, families, and the community;
  2. Monitor the impact of discipline policies and procedures using disaggregated data; and
  3. Periodically review and update discipline rules, policies, and procedures in consultation with staff, students, families, and the community.


Questions? Contact OSPI:

For questions about student discipline, alternatives to suspension, and reengagement meetings:

Joshua Lynch, Program Supervisor | Student Discipline and Behavior



For questions about Alternative Learning Experience (ALE) and online learning:

Lillian Hunter, Director | Digital Learning Department | 206-543-5426


For questions about student enrollment reporting for state funding:

Becky McLean, Supervisor | Enrollment Reporting and Categorical Funding | 360-725-6306


Additional Resources

HB 1541

Equity in Student Discipline

Data and Analytics: Suspensions and Expulsions

Posted in: Blog, Closing the Gaps, Legislative session, School Discipline

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Summary of Opportunity Gap House Bill 1541

Governor Jay Inslee signs Opportunity Gap House Bill 1541 into law, with (l-r) Rep. Lillian Ortiz-Self, Rep. Sharon Tomiko Santos and Rep. Tina Orwall

Governor Jay Inslee signs Opportunity Gap House Bill 1541 into law, with (l-r) Rep. Lillian Ortiz-Self, Rep. Sharon Tomiko Santos and Rep. Tina Orwall

Thanks to the passage of HB 1541, students will no longer be suspended or expelled for discretionary offenses, and better statewide data on student demographics will ensure that the system is working to keep all students on track and in school.  All students suspended or expelled will receive educational services and school staff will be provided with new trainings that are sensitive to culture and positively support all students’ growth.

Read our summary of HB 1541 here.

Posted in: Blog, Closing the Gaps, School Discipline

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Education Advocate April 2016

ED Advocate, League of Education Voters Newsletter, April 2016


Chris Korsmo
Chris Korsmo, CEO

Thank you to those who were able to join us at our annual breakfast two weeks ago.  We enjoyed a thoughtful conversation about helping our kids create personal pathways for success with Lake Washington Institute of Technology President Dr. Amy Morrison Goings, Will Sarett, Director of the NewTech Skill Center, and Mike Sotelo, Co-Founder of the Combined Ethnic Chamber, moderated by Washington Business Alliance President Colleen McAleer

Below, you will find a shout-out to our donors from the first quarter of 2016.  If you supported us at the breakfast, watch for your name in the second quarter report.  Thank you!

With the legislative special session over and the fate of this year’s crop of education bills decided, we can now officially celebrate our wins.  Take a look at Jene Jones’ blog post to cheer for your favorite issues.

Thanks for all you do for kids. We couldn’t do it without you.
  Chris Korsmo signature


Chris Korsmo

Celebrating Our Donors

Thank youDonations are made to the League of Education Voters (LEV) and the LEV Foundation by individuals, groups, and businesses throughout the community. These generous donations from those who believe in high-quality public education allow us to ensure measurable progress toward LEV’s vision that every student in Washington state has access to an excellent public education that provides the opportunity for success.

We’d like to take a moment to celebrate our supporters who donated to LEV or the LEV Foundation between January 1 and March 31 of 2016. Thank you!

LEV’s Activist of the Month

WA Charters is April 2016 Activist of the MonthAt the League of Education Voters (LEV), we recognize all of the hard work that you do toward improving public education across Washington state. We are pleased to announce our Activist of the Month for April: WA Charters. Learn how WA Charters helped us save public charter schools. Read more

Hear Chris and See Breakfast Photos

Our 2016 LEV Breakfast panelThank you for making the 2016 League of Education Voters Foundation Breakfast a success!  Hear CEO Chris Korsmo’s inspiring speech and see photos from the event. Learn more

GiveBIG is back!

A strong start for all kids.GiveBIG is back! Support the League of Education Voters Foundation on May 3, 2016, as part of our community’s biggest day of giving of the year.

Start now by following us on Twitter and stay tuned for details.

Get Involved


May 17, 2016 | Lunchtime LEVinar on education funding, Watch for info soon!

| Donate online

League of Education Voters

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Seattle, WA 98109
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Posted in: Education Advocate, LEV News

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2016 Legislative Session Recap

By Jene Jones, Government Relations

Jene Jones headshot cropped

Great things happened in Olympia for kids this year. Monumental things. And I’m going to celebrate here. So if you want to fill up your emotional bucket with some extra happy today, read on.

After unprecedented funding investments in schools last session, and new money pre-spent before legislators arrived this session in Olympia on necessary emergencies such as wildfires and unexpected prescription drug costs for WA residents, “manage your expectations” was the refrain to all advocates.

We didn’t. And our kids were prioritized. I’ll provide proof. In case this is as much extra ‘happy’ as you need today and you don’t need details before moving on, I am going to say thank you first. Thank you to the hard working legislators who balance the weight of so many issues – present & future. Thank you to the community members who told stories of their kids and talked about their dreams in Olympia. Thank you for listening, acting, and collaborating. Tim McGraw sings “always stay humble and kind.” I witnessed a lot of humanity this year in the halls and offices of the Capitol. This is the result:

For our littlest learners, additional money was invested in family child care providers so that the teachers can improve the quality of facilities and curriculum offered our precious preschoolers, thus assuring they are ready to thrive in kindergarten.

For our K-12 kids, we now have money to make sure we will no longer be suspending or expelling students for discretionary offenses, and will have better statewide data on demographics of kids to make sure the system is working to keep all students on-track and in school. This will happen in part through new discipline frameworks and trainings which are being developed sensitive to culture and positively supporting all students’ growth. Social Emotional Learning is a proactive way to reduce stress and behaviors associated with it, leaving teachers more time to teach, and students more time to learn. Pilots are being tracked statewide.

In addition, policy was passed aimed at providing in-school support for foster youth, including better information sharing with schools and more adult support to help students navigate frequent changes in school buildings. Our homeless student population is getting increased identification for schools, which will help with in-school support for learning and community partnerships for family housing stability. The early data from Tacoma housing/school partnerships shows fantastic academic gains for these students as well as an increased percentage of family member employment. Grants for 15 school districts are now available.

In the individualizing learning and choice bucket, we also re-approved (3rd time) charter schools. Charters are one piece of the puzzle of allowing innovation and flexibility to schools so that kids’ needs and academic growth stay at the center of the conversation. These non-profit public WA charter schools are operating under the top 5 most rigorous state accountability laws in the US.

Finally, and for the first time, near vision screenings will be offered when distance vision is tested in elementary and middle schools statewide. Seeing the numbers and letters on a page correctly dramatically increases academic potential. Duh. This was 17 years in the making, and the victory for kids happened this year.

In higher education, a new college savings plan for families passed as an alternative and addition to the GET program. Another law now assures that higher education students who have learning accommodations will no longer have to wait up to 6 months for those accommodations to start, which provides every student what they need to be successful right away. Yes!

Additionally, more money was allocated to get the students in teacher prep programs scholarships for high-need teaching positions. Test fees for teacher candidates can now be waived, and a central data system is being set up so that districts can see what teachers are out there applying for jobs in Washington. When beginning teachers get to schools, there is now money for peer mentor programs to support teacher quality and retention. Retired teachers are also now allowed to be re-hired as substitutes, which will help the shortage and assure students continue to learn even if their teacher is not in the building that day. And new money is available to train the classified staff who also work with groups of students, so that they have the tools to be a part of the core teaching team.

I have more good news. Next session amazing things will happen for kids. The work has already begun to provide ample opportunities for every student to have a meaningful and personalized learning experience. More options. More choice. More student understanding of how what is learned leads to a successful, prosperous future while raising up WA communities and finding new ways to make WA businesses thrive. That’s my North Star. We will get all kids the tools they need to discover their passions and proudly take leadership in growing WA. That vision keeps my bucket full. Tim, I’ll add one word: “always stay strong, humble, and kind.”

Posted in: Blog, Charter Schools, Closing the Gaps, Early Learning, Funding, Higher Education, Legislative session, School Discipline

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Breaking news: Gov. Jay Inslee has decided to let the Legislature’s charter school fix become law without his signature

Many students created their own signs

Public charter schools Senate Bill 6194 is going to become law! We are excited for our kids to have more options for an excellent education. This is a big victory for our kids and their families! Thank you to everyone who helped make this possible.

Posted in: Blog, Charter Schools

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The Opportunity Gap Bill is now Law!

Today Gov. Jay Inslee signed House Bill 1541, which addresses the Opportunity Gap.  Here are highlights from the ceremony at Aki Kurose Middle School library.

Governor Jay Inslee signs Opportunity Gap House Bill 1541 into law, with (l-r) Rep. Lillian Ortiz-Self, Rep. Sharon Tomiko Santos and Rep. Tina Orwall

Governor Jay Inslee signs Opportunity Gap House Bill 1541 into law, with (l-r) Rep. Lillian Ortiz-Self, Rep. Sharon Tomiko Santos and Rep. Tina Orwall

League of Education Voters board treasurer Kevin Washington kicked things off as the MC

League of Education Voters board treasurer Kevin Washington kicked things off as the MC

Rep. Sharon Tomiko Santos, chair of the House Education Committee, talks about the significance of her opportunity gap bill becoming law

Rep. Sharon Tomiko Santos, chair of the House Education Committee, talks about the significance of her opportunity gap bill becoming law

Rep. Lillian Ortiz-Self shares her experiences seeing the opportunity gap firsthand as a middle school counselor

Rep. Lillian Ortiz-Self shares her experiences seeing the opportunity gap firsthand as a middle school counselor

Washington state Middle School Principal of the Year Mia Williams talks about the importance of closing gaps

Washington state Middle School Principal of the Year Mia Williams of Aki Kurose Middle School talks about the importance of closing gaps

Governor Jay Inslee addresses the crowd at Aki Kurose Middle School before signing Opportunity Gap House Bill 1541

Governor Jay Inslee addresses the crowd at Aki Kurose Middle School before signing Opportunity Gap House Bill 1541

Governor Jay Inslee congratulates Aki Kurose Middle School students after he signed Opportunity Gap HB 1541

Governor Jay Inslee congratulates Aki Kurose Middle School students after he signed Opportunity Gap HB 1541

Posted in: Blog, Closing the Gaps, Legislative session, School Discipline

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Public Charter Schools ESSB 6194 as Amended in the House

Many students created their own signs

On March 9th, 2016, the House of Representatives amended and passed ESSB 6194, a new charter school law. On March 10th, 2016, the Senate concurred with the House’s changes and passed the bill. The bill now awaits Governor Inslee’s signature. The bill reenacts provisions of Initiative 1240 and makes changes to the charter school system to comply with the Supreme Court’s ruling on charter schools in September of 2015. This bill will allow the current schools to stay open and new schools to be established in the future, providing more options for Washington’s students and families.

See the details of ESSB 6194 here

Posted in: Blog, Charter Schools, Legislative session

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Thank you to Representatives who voted Yes on Public Charter Schools Senate Bill 6194

Students practice their chants for legislators

Last night, the House voted 58-39 to pass Senate Bill 6194, a long-term solution to keep public charter schools open.  The bill is off to the Senate for concurrence and then to Governor Inslee’s desk.  Here are the legislators who voted yes, in case you would like to thank them:

House Democrats

Name District Email Phone
Clibborn 41 (360) 786-7926
Hurst 31 (360) 786-7866
Kagi 32 (360) 786-7910
Lytton 40 (360) 786-7800
Morris 40 (360) 786-7970
Pettigrew 37 (360) 786-7838
Sawyer 29 (360) 786-7906
Senn 41 (360) 786-7894
Springer 45 (360) 786-7822
Sullivan 47 (360) 786-7858

House Republicans

Name District Email Phone
Barkis 2 (360) 786-7824
Buys 42 (360) 786-7854
Caldier 26 (360) 786-7802
Chandler 15 (360) 786-7960
Condotta 12 (360) 786-7954
DeBolt 20 (360) 786-7896
Dent 13 (360) 786-7932
Dye 9 (360) 786-7942
Griffey 35 (360) 786-7966
Haler 8 (360) 786-7986
Hargrove 47 (360) 786-7918
Harmsworth 44 (360) 786-7892
Harris 17 (360) 786-7976
Hawkins 12 (360) 786-7832
Hayes 10 (360) 786-7914
Hickel 30 (360) 786-7830
Holy 6 (360) 786-7962
Johnson 14 (360) 786-7810
Klippert 8 (360) 786-7882
Kochmar 30 (360) 786-7898
Kretz 7 (360) 786-7988
Kristiansen 39 (360) 786-7967
MacEwen 35 (360) 786-7902
Magendanz 5 (360) 786-7876
Manweller 13 (360) 786-7808
McCabe 14 (360) 786-7856
McCaslin 4 (360) 786-7820
Muri 28 (360) 786-7890
Nealey 16 (360) 786-7828
Orcutt 20 (360) 786-7990
Parker 6 (360) 786-7922
Pike 18 (360) 786-7812
Rodne 5 (360) 786-7852
Schmick 9 (360) 786-7844
Scott 39 (360) 786-7816
Shea 4 (360) 786-7984
Short 7 (360) 786-7908
Smith 10 (360) 786-7884
Stambaugh 25 (360) 786-7948
Stokesbary 31 (360) 786-7846
Taylor 15 (360) 786-7874
Van Werven 42 (360) 786-7980
Vick 18 (360) 786-7850
Walsh 16 (360) 786-7836
Wilcox 2 (360) 786-7912
Wilson 17 (360) 786-7994
Young 26 (360) 786-7964
Zeiger 25 (360) 786-7968

Posted in: Blog, Charter Schools, Legislative session

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Korsmo’s Weekly Roundup: The Home Stretch

Chris Korsmo, CEO, League of Education Voters

Chris Korsmo


You know that I’m a fan of football and a huge fan of Seahawks coach Pete Carroll. His post-game victory speech almost always begins thus: “Do we win the game in the first quarter? (NO!) Do we win it in the second quarter? Do we win the game in the third quarter? No. We win the game in the fourth quarter.” Well folks, as it relates to the legislative session, we are firmly in the throes of the fourth quarter and fast approaching the two-minute warning.

With less than a week to go, much remains to be done. That list includes a fix for our charter schools, wildfires, a supplemental budget and myriad education issues. The one thing that has made it past the finish line is the McCleary task force bill that the Governor signed on Monday – the hope being that the task force satisfies the Supreme Court’s ruling requiring a plan for full funding. You can get more detail about the role of the task force here.  All bill movement and descriptions can be found here.

Speaking of the budget, both budgets have passed their respective chambers (HB 2376 & SB 6246). Significant differences remain regarding the use of the Rainy Day Fund – the House is transferring $318 million from the Rainy Day Fund and the Senate is transferring $0. Required spending is eating up most of the additional revenue, leaving few resources to enhance or expand programs, which further complicates matters. The estimated additional required spending is expected to be approximately $360 million:

  • $235 million – Forest fires and related recovery efforts
  • $124 million – Court mandated healthcare spending and higher than expected healthcare costs

Session is set to expire at midnight Thursday and everyone wants to get out to start the campaign season. A special session isn’t out of the realm of possibility, but doesn’t fall into the realm of the desirable. What is desirable is final action on a handful of bills that made it out of the opposite chamber this week, including:

  • HB 1345 – Defining professional learning for educators
  • HB 1999 – Improving educational outcomes for foster youth
  • SB 6466 – Concerning student services for students with disabilities in higher education.

Here are bills that passed out of opposite chamber, but still have some differences to be worked out before getting to the Governor’s desk:

  • SB 6601 – Washington College Savings Program
  • HB 1682 – Increasing educational outcomes for homeless students

We are still in the thick of it on charter schools. Kids and parents have burned up the concrete turning out in Olympia and most mainstream media are in support of a fix. All attention is turned now to the House where the next action must be taken.

It’s looking less likely that we’ll get the funding fix we need for Career and Technical Education (CTE), unless a rabbit and a hat are part of the final budget negotiations. Which is a shame, because our kids need improved access to CTE – it is the bridge to the world after high school for many.

In other news:

  • The higher education bottleneck is one more indicator of disparity.
  • I’m going to eschew the standard adjectives that often attach themselves to the current front runners for the White House. And instead, give you their education platforms, ideology, and just musings.
  • Ok, RubioCruz, and Sanders, too.
  • It’s not too late to celebrate Seuss’ birthday.

Ok folks, that’s it for the week. But don’t turn away – next week will be past us in a heartbeat and there’s a LOT left to do. Enjoy your weekend, hug your children, and thanks for all you do for Washington’s kids.

Chris and Team LEV

Posted in: Blog, Career Technical Education, Charter Schools, Closing the Gaps, Funding, Higher Education, Legislative session, Weekly Roundup

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