The 2017 legislative session is scheduled to end next Sunday, April 23. Bills that have successfully made it though the process as now being scheduled for bill signing by Governor Inslee.

Items of Interest

  • OSPI/SBE Governance:  HB 1886 Passed the Senate with a striking amendment that simply directs OSPI and SBE to work together to report back to the legislature the appropriate roles of both OSPI as well as the SBE. There is no task force or work group created. The House budget includes a work group to study the issue and report back to the legislature.
  • Children’s Mental Health Workgroup: HB 1713 passed the Senate and is on its way to the Governor’s desk. This is Rep. Senn’s bill to implement the recommendations of the Children’s Mental Health Workgroup. The bill requires the Health Care Authority to coordinate mental health resources for Medicaid-eligible children and requires health plans to cover annual depression screenings for children aged 12-18 and mothers of children aged birth to six months; requires the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction to fund two Educational Service Districts to pilot a lead staff person for mental health and substance use disorder services; requires Washington State University to establish one additional 24- month residency position specializing in child and adolescent psychology; and requires behavioral health organizations to reimburse providers for the use of telemedicine to deliver medically necessary services to Medicaid clients.
  • Regarding the PESB HB 1341 : Moving forward in the Senate and waiting to be scheduled for a vote on the floor of the Senate. The bill prohibits the Professional Educator Standards Board (PESB) from requiring professional certification for school administrators. Requires the PESB to adopt new rules for professional certification for teachers that meet specified requirements, by September 1, 2017. Bases eligibility for the professional teacher certificate on professional developments credits, rather than on a uniform and externally administered professional-level certification assessment.

Capital Budget

Both Capital budgets have been released, SHB 1075 and SSB 5086, WASA summary of budgets:

The majority of the K–12 portion of the Senate budget, totaling $1.09 billion, would fund the School Construction Assistance Program (SCAP). Resources provided would be expected to “fully fund” anticipated requests for K–12 construction in the biennium; however, because construction formulas remain unchanged, the funding provided would continue to fall well-short of adequately funding school districts’ actual costs, and also fail to adequately address current educational standards and space needs. SCAP would receive $965.4 million, funded with $779.1 million in bonds and $186.3 million from the Common School Construction Account. The remaining funding would be allocated as described below. Additional details, including a summary, a statewide project list and the actual budget and bond bills, are available on the Washington State Fiscal Information website.

The House’s budget would spend a total of $4.15 billion, which is comprised of $2.46 billion of bonds and $1.68 billion from other funds, along with $16.8 million from existing bond authority. Education (both K–12 and Higher Education combined) would receive $1.9 billion of the overall appropriations. Similar to the Senate’s budget, there is limited remaining bond capacity; however, due to the way the House structures their budget, they are able to secure $105 million for next year’s Supplemental Capital Budget. The majority of the K–12 portion of the budget, totaling $1.1 billion, would fund the School Construction Assistance Program (SCAP). SCAP would receive $1.033 billion, funded with $851.2 million in bonds and $179 million from the Common School Construction Account. The funding provided would be expected to “fully fund” anticipated requests for K–12 construction in the biennium. Construction formulas in the House budget remain inadequate; however, the House funding for SCAP would raise the Student Space Allocation (square foot per student) for each funded elementary school (K–6) from 90 square feet per student to 110 square feet per student. While the House provides at least a partial enhancement in construction formulas, the House fails to provide additional funding to continue the K–3 Class Size Reduction Grant Program.