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It’s time for free meals for all students

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Ashley Burchett (Seattle EA) and Rachel Buschelman (Federal Way EA) testified on Special Education funding.

Coming up this week – take action now!

  • Our priority bill to provide free school meals for all students (SB 5339) has a hearing Monday at 1:30pm in Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education.  Sign in PRO here.  The House version of the bill (HB 1238) has a hearing Tuesday at 4pm in the Education Committee.  Sign in PRO.
  • Benefits increases for Plan 1 retirees (SB 5350) is before Senate Ways & Means on Monday at 4pm (sign in PRO here) and the House version (HB 1057) will be heard in Appropriations on Thursday at 4pm (sign in PRO here).
  • A bill supporting student access to school library information and technology programs (SB 5102) will also be before the Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee on Monday at 1:30pm.  Sign in PRO here.
  • WEA members will be there to testify in support of expanding multi-lingual and tribal language education (HB 1228) is in front of the House Education Committee Tuesday at 4pm.  More information below; sign in PRO here.
  • A bill to increase districts’ per-student levy maximum (HB 1244) could mean raising more badly-needed funds through levy votes.  We know this could make a huge difference for certain districts.  Its hearing is Wednesday at 4pm in House Appropriations.  Sign in pro.

If you’re interested in testifying on these bills, please contact WEA Lobbyist Simone Boe.

WEA members who testified this week: Jenn Black (WEA Legislative Strategy Committee Co-Chair, Sumner-Bonney Lake EA) on the Washington Future Fund; Ryan Grant (Medical Lake EA) on universal screening for highly capable programs; Martha Patterson (Central Kitsap EA) on purple star designation; Ashley Burchett (Seattle EA) and Rachel Buschelman (Federal Way EA) on Special Education funding.

If you provided verbal or written testimony before the legislature, we’d like to do a shout-out about you! Please contact WEA Lobbyist Simone Boe.

The wealthy need to pay their fair share

Our students need more supports than ever and the $3 billion that the capital gains tax is estimated to bring in revenue is critical to meeting those needs.  On Thursday Jan. 26, the Washington Supreme Court will hear arguments from a few wealthy Washingtonians who don’t want to have to pay their part for our schools and public services.  WEA members will be there with a broad coalition of partners to rally at 11:30am to make our voices heard.  Join us!

Expanding access to multi-lingual learning

Every student has the right to an education that helps them succeed but shortages of multi-lingual educators and a lack of support for multi-lingual programs are limiting some students’ access to the learning they need.  A bill in the House Education Committee would address both of these issues.  It provides grants to districts to expand multi-lingual and tribal heritage language programs, giving more students access to in-language learning supports.  Plus, the bill incentivizes educators to pursue language credentials by providing bonuses to teachers and paraeducators who have language endorsements/skills.  Learn more about the bill, and sign in PRO now.

Speaking out for higher ed

A robust public higher education system that includes affordable, high-quality community and technical colleges is critical both to student success and to our state’s economic future.  WEA higher ed members are teaming up with college administrators this week to talk with lawmakers about what our students and our colleges need.  Dozens of faculty and staff will be in Olympia on Thursday – join us!  Contact Simone Boe to sign up.

Tracking our priorities

With week two of legislative session coming to a close, committees have begun hosting executive sessions to vote bills out of committee.  Within the next week or so it will become clear which bills need an extra nudge to get through committee.  Keep an eye out for urgent action alerts!

Get the news as it happens…  Follow WEA Advocacy on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, plus subscribe to the Advocacy blog.  Subscribe to text message action alerts by texting “Advocacy” to 833-258-6815.

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