Advocacy Corner – January 2019

Welcome to 2019, Let the WA State Legislative Session Begin!

On January 14, 2019 the Washington State Legislative session will kick off.  This is a long session and a budget year so lawmakers will head back to Olympia to determine the state budget and what and how things will be paid for.  There are many things to pay attention to and ways to get involved.

Our State Legislative Representatives

Article IX, Section I of the Washington State Constitution reads: “It is the paramount duty of the state to make ample provision for the education of all children residing within its borders, without distinction or preference on account of race, color, caste, or sex.”

In other words, it is the duty of the state to provide access to education.  What that exactly means, what should be included, and how to pay for it is all the job of the legislature to define.  YOU can help make important changes in our educational system by letting your voices be heard.

It is easy and quick to find phone numbers and emails for your representative here: http://app.leg.wa.gov/DistrictFinder/

Alki Elementary is in the 34th Legislative District.  Current 34th district representatives are:

  • Senator Joe Nguyen (D)  
  • Representative Eileen Cody (D)
  • Representative Joe Fitzgibbon (D)  

There are also bi-partisan committees that focus on education issues.  You can search for them here: http://leg.wa.gov/legislature/Pages/CommitteeListing.aspx

Things to be on the lookout for during this Legislative session:

Social and Emotional Learning in Education

As you know Alki PTA is supporting our need for a school counselor by paying for the position salary.  This is unsustainable and we may not be able to continue to fund the position. We need to continue to advocate both at the state level and at the Seattle Public Schools District level for counselors to be included in the baseline for ALL Washington Schools.  PTAs should not have to pay for this vital school resource or go without.

Funding for Education (still)

Last year the Legislature created an overhaul to how public schools are funded and made some headway in education funding.  Unfortunately, because of levy restrictions the law imposed, some districts, like Seattle will actually be receiving less money in the next school year.  Without additional funding, resources like counselors will remain underfunded and unavailable.

What are Washington State PTA 2019 Legislative Priorities?

Washington State PTA is actively working on many child advocacy issues (priorities listed below).  
Sign up for action alerts to help support the below issues throughout the legislative session: https://actionnetwork.org/forms/subscribe-to-wsptas-action-network-group

PTA Supported Long-Term Resolutions:  In addition to the short term platform issues there are also over 50 other issues that PTA actively works to support.  Check out that list here: https://www.wastatepta.org/focus-areas/advocacy/resolutions/

What is the Office of Superintendent Public Instruction (OSPI) focused on for 2019?

Superintendent Chris Rykdel has ambitious goals for Washington State schools.  Here is the list of his priorities for education in Washington State: http://www.k12.wa.us/Communications/EducationPriorities.aspx

 

UPCOMING MEETINGS AND EVENTS:  

PTA Focus Day – Save the Date – February 11, 2019

Focus Day will be held in Olympia on February 11, 2019. This is an opportunity to connect with legislators and to advocate on priorities near and dear to Alki, Seattle Schools, and WSPTA. Watch for more information throughout January.  

We recognize that not everyone can take a day off and go down to Olympia.  Even if you cannot make the trip, your voice is important and deserves to be heard.  Join our letter writing party on February 11th from 6 – 7:30 pm in the Alki Elementary library!  More details soon!

Community Meetings with School Board Director Leslie Harris

  • January 19, 2019 3:00PM to 5:00PM  Delridge Branch Library, 5423 Delridge Way SW

Seattle Public School Board Meetings

  • January 9, 2019 4:15 PM to 8:30 PM – John Stanford Center 2445 3rd Avenue South, Seattle
  • January 23, 2019 4:15 PM to 8:30 PM – John Stanford Center 2445 3rd Avenue South, Seattle
  • February 6, 2019 4:15 to 8:30 PM – John Stanford Center 2445 3rd Avenue South, Seattle
ALKI ELEMENTARY PTA