Stillwater Elementary PTA  2.16.24   •   Serving Duvall & Carnation, WA   •     Riverview School District

Legislative Assembly Update

Written by Roslyn Reeps, please send any questions to advocate [at] stillwaterptsa [dot] org

Washington State PTA has been a leading voice for children in Washington for more than 112 years, advocating for the health, safety, well-being and education for every child.  I was able to join with over 230 other members from around the state to continue this long and powerful history when I represented Stillwater PTSA members at the 2018 Legislative Assembly from October 20 to 21.  Legislative Assembly is held each year to determine or refine the Washington State PTA platform that will be advocated for during the Washington legislative session.

To prepare for Legislative Assembly, I sent out a survey to the Stillwater community to determine which of the twelve legislative issues you felt were most important (top 5).  You felt that having safe school plans and emergency preparedness was the top priority.  There was a tie for second place between a legislative issue concerning best practices for lunch, which defined a minimum of seated time and promoted recess before lunch, and a legislative issue that addresses the teacher shortage through funding scholarship programs and grants and supporting alternative routes to certification.  The last two were also tied; these legislative issues concerned funding training requirements for paraeducators and preventing gun violence by reducing access.

The voting delegates passed all twelve legislative issues.  Preventing gun violence (third place) and strategies to address the teach shortage (forth place) were the Stillwater priorities that made it into the top five legislative issues for 2018-2019.  Integrating social and emotional learning into the education system was the top legislative priority again this year.  A legislative issue concerning school construction, which would document the use of portables, support lower K-3 class sizes and change school bond construction votes from a super-majority (60%) to a simple majority, came in second place.  In fifth place was an issue that supported strategic K-12 investments to close gaps mainly in special education and concerning high mobility students and high poverty schools that were left open by the recent McCleary legislation, which addressed funding in Washington schools (A 2017 top legislative priority).

The rest of the legislative issues made up the “Also Supported” list, which included:

  1. Safe school plans and emergency preparedness,
  2. Best practices for school meals-lunch,
  3. Fund paraeducator training,
  4. Best practices for school recess,
  5. Engaging families in student success,
  6. Raise the age of tobacco and electronic nicotine delivery systems to 21, and
  7. Increase access to high-quality preschool.

These legislative issues will make up the Washington state PTA legislative platform and will be advocated this legislative session in Olympia.  These issues were written by PTA members and voted on by PTA member-delegates.  PTA members will be advocating on these issues in Olympia.  If you are passionate about any of these issues, and would like to join us in Olympia, let me know at advocate [at] stillwaterptsa [dot] org.  If you feel that there is an issue that needs to be addressed in Washington public education, I encourage you to submit an issue for consideration in the spring.  As a member-driven organization, Washington PTA has shown that together we can bring about meaningful change in public education in this state.

For more information on these issues and the long-term positions outlined by the legislative principles and resolutions, please see the WSPTA Advocacy page www.wastatepta.org/advocacy .