Welcome back! I hope you had a great break and are ready to get going again!! It's been awhile, so apologies in advance for the length of this email...
There is a School Board Meeting tomorrow night. Find the agenda here (it's beefy!). Please consider going at 6:30 to the reception prior to the meeting to honor our School Board for School Board Appreciation Month.
Our Superintendent Coffee is this Thursday at 9:30. On the agenda: Facilities Update and the Upcoming Legislative Session/Shoreline Budget Overview. Remember that we welcome 2 delegates from each PTA; if your co-President isn't available, consider bringing someone who might be an awesome incoming officer.
A reminder that our PTA Council meeting this month is a meet & greet with local nonprofit partners. We will do a small amount of business (see below) and do a speed-dating exercise to allow you and your boards to meet with leaders in these potential connections.
As we move through the year, please make sure you (or someone you delegate, or both) are adequately thanking and recognizing volunteers who work hard to make things better for our kids. Some of our people do big, splashy things, and some of them are quiet and steady. Make sure they all know how much they are appreciated. Not everyone will be honored with a Golden Acorn award, but all volunteers should feel valued.
Along those lines: At this year's Reflections reception, we had an error in the program which was unfortunate. Brookside's originally specified chair was not the person who did all the work, but was given recognition in the program. If you have a program (or if you know these ladies), please note that Kathy Griffard and Myra Habermann were the volunteers who really did all the work. We will run an article in the Shoreline Area News about the reception, and will again publicize the correction.
1. Did everyone go over their websites? Are your current board members listed?
2. Do you have any updates to send us to the online Council Directory? Do we have all your Chairs?
Council Needs Your Help
At our meeting in January, we need to elect a nominating committee and find a mid-year financial review committee. Please seriously consider helping us out by raising your hand for one of these jobs. Email me if you are game; I will also ask for people to commit on the 25th.
We also need your help giving Council a little exposure. This year's entire board is in the second year of serving and will need to rotate out. Please take the time to talk about Council to your boards and ask if anyone is willing to step into a Council position. In addition to the elected positions, we need to find:
A Reflections team. This job used to be held by 2 people, and Adrian has tried to do it as 1. If you have someone who is passionate about art, or who likes art but whose strength is really in organizing, please encourage them to consider joining the Council in this capacity.
A membership chair. We did without one this year, but Council will be stronger with someone covering this and connecting local chairs with each other and with resources.
A scholarship chair. And an awards chair. We have someone who has expressed interest in the Awards Director position (overseeing both), but would like to fill in jobs underneath her to make that go easier. Both scholarships and awards are fun jobs and don't take a lot of time.
A recognition event chair. Carrie and Suzanne will be running it for the second year this year, and while they could legally keep the job, it's a good one to offer up. Any event planning people would be great at this one.
We will not be able to fill these positions and have a strong Council without a nominating committee and without some help from you in the local PTAs.
Membership numbers are going to be important as we head into this legislative session. Why? Because a few more members at each PTA in the State can translate to thousands more in our overall number. We can say that we are 132,000 strong, but we COULD say we are 140,000 strong. That's a number to pay attention to, if you're in the legislature.
Make sure all member forms are entered into PT Avenue. This determines the number of your PTA's voting delegates for Convention!
Deadline to apply for Membership Awards:
- 100% Teacher
- 100% Membership
2016 WSPTA Convention
Get ready to Stand Up, Speak Up and Show Up to show your support of our legislative platform with a focus on our Top Five. Bring banners and signs for the noon rally on the Capitol steps. Hear what state legislative leaders have to say about our issues and how they plan to deliver on their promises.
Note: Children's activities are not being planned this year.
We will be sharing a bus with Northshore Council. More details to come about that. Please be prepared to offer this option to your membership!
This update is courtesy of our legislative guru, Marie Sullivan. It will be shared with Leg Chairs sometime this week (hopefully).
January 7, 2016
2016 Session Kicks Off January 11
Next Monday starts the second half of the 64th Legislature, with a quick 60-day session prior to what is projected to be a high-spending campaign season. The day officially kicks off at noon, with the swearing in of new House members. The House Education committee takes it one step further, holding afternoon committee meetings to get the week going, while both the House and Senate budget committees will review Gov. Jay Inslee’s supplemental operating budget.
Lawmakers are facing, among other issues, a state Supreme Court contempt charge and a $100,000-a-day fine for the previous legislature’s failure to adopt a plan to fund public education under the 2012 McCleary ruling. A bipartisan group of legislators has been meeting since the fine was imposed, most recently on January 4th, to bring an education plan forward. At a panel discussion today, workgroup legislators said they were close to finalizing the plan, and hoped to release it within the next week.
The plan is unlikely to lay out new revenue in a campaign year and lawmakers disagree on the total funding needed to satisfy the Court and amply pay for basic education. Legislators said they need to continue to gather more data, including how local levy dollars are being spent on basic education and teacher compensation in each district. In addition, legislators said that the plan will put some definitions in place about how local levies can be used and will make it clear that they can’t be used for basic education purposes. How that will align with compensation in any transition period is anyone’s guess at this point.
The political scene
Republicans have a clear Senate majority of 25-24 and an edge of 26-24 with the help of Democrat Tim Sheldon of Potlatch, who continues to caucus with them. In the House, Republicans held onto the 9th district this past November and picked up a seat in the 30th district (Federal Way area) to shave the Democrats’ majority margin to 50-48. No changes have been made in Senate or House leadership: the Senate Majority Leader is Mark Schoesler of Ritzville, while Seattle Democrat Frank Chopp remains Speaker of the House. Other House and Senate leaders can be found here and here. Their priorities were laid out in a leadership panel discussion today. The 60-minute video can be found here.
Jay Inslee is entering his fourth year as governor. The Democratic Governor released supplemental operating, capital and transportation budgets prior to the holidays. His operating budget proposal includes a modest $1.8 million in K-12 education enhancements, and about a $100 million per year bump in beginning teacher pay,teacher pay increases, and beginning teacher mentoring support. His salary and mentoring proposal would be funded by closing four tax loopholes that have been discussed in previous sessions, including restoring a tax on bottled water and changing the out-of-state resident sales tax exemption.
New faces, same committees
The number of new faces in the House and Senate is small, but at least one more shift from the House to the Senate is expected in the near future. The Senate has one new member, while the House has three new members – one of whom is a Longview school director.
Last fall, long-time House Appropriations Chair Ross Hunter, D-Medina, announced he was leaving the Legislature to be the agency director at the Department of Early Learning, and former Rep. Dean Takko, D-Longview, was appointed to the Senate. This set off a series of shifts in chairmanships, with Rep. Hans Dunshee, Snohomish, switching from chairing the Capital Budget to lead the House Appropriations Committee; Majority Floor Leader Kris Lytton, Anacortes, becoming the House Finance Chair; and Rep. Steve Tharinger of Dungeness replacing Dunshee at the helm of Capital Budget. In addition, new chairs were appointed to the community development and local government committees, and many members changed committees.
In the House, Sharon Tomiko Santos of Seattle, retains control of the Education Committee, while Steve Litzow, Mercer Island, is the Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education chair. Their minority counterparts are Republican Chad Magendanz of Issaquah and Democrat Rosemary McAuliffe of Bothell, respectively.
A full list of House committee assignments can be found here; Senate committee assignments can be found here.
Governor proposes $100 million solution to teacher shortage, extra $1.8 million in K-12 funding
On December 17, 2015, Governor Inslee submitted proposals for the 2016 supplemental operating, capital and transportation budgets. Inslee acknowledged that the short session was really a time for making budget adjustments, paying for the previous fire season, and increasing mental health funding. Inslee also discussed the teacher shortage across the state and offered a solution of higher starting teacher pay (an increase to $40,000) along with a 1% increase for all teachers, and better mentoring for beginning teachers.
Specifically in K-12 education, Inslee proposed:
$500,000 for expanding the Core-Plus program to 10 new sites each year;
$500,000 to support an OSPI-request in Jobs for Washington Graduates (designed to expand the program by 25 more grants to schools);
$264,000 to support the Healthiest Generation;
$250,000 to support CTE-course equivalencies for math and science;
$201,000 to help with language access issues, particularly as they relate to critical graduation documents; and
$170,000 for equity in student discipline and a reduction in the use of exclusionary discipline.
The week ahead
Governor Inslee will offer his “State of the State” address to a joint session on Tuesday, January 12th interview from today about the upcoming session can be found here.
The House Appropriations and Senate Ways & Means committees and the House and Senate capital budget committees will get overviews of the Governor’s supplemental operating and capital budgets, and will take public comment. This is usually just a starting place for the Legislature; policy choices will vary depending on the caucus and chamber, and the budgets are expected to change between now and next March.
The House Education Committee will hear and act on a number of bills from last session, while the Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee will hold a public hearing on at least one bipartisan charter school bill. The House Local Government Committee is planning to hear and act on a school siting bill from last session, while the House Early Learning & Human Services Committee will discuss educational outcomes for foster youth. To keep current on agendas, please go to the legislative site and click on the specific committee.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS UPDATE
Brooke Valentine submitted her resignation as the WSPTA legislative director effective December 17, 2015. The WSPTA board of directors wishes Brooke much success in her future endeavors, and we are grateful for her service to Washington State PTA.
With that, WSPTA is pleased to announce that Duncan Taylor, legislative chair for Region 9, has been appointed to the position of interim legislative director. Duncan's PTA leadership experience and passion for our vision and mission, coupled with his extensive non-profit work experience makes him an excellent addition to the board of directors. Please welcome Duncan Taylor to our team!
Are you someone who loves to be on the ground floor of bold new projects? Project: PTA needs volunteers who are passionate about kids and helping them see all of their future options. This is a STEM focused program, that encourages teamwork among students. If you have, or know someone, with experience in the tech industry (specifically the gaming industry) this is a project for you! Even if you don't have any technical skills, we need you as well!
Project:PTA hopes to be a video game design competition, "STEM"ing from the Reflections program. The competition will grade teams of students on design, code, and artwork. The current plan will give students six months to work on their project in teams of no more than six to compete for prizes. The steering committee will organize to launch this new WSPTA program for Fall 2016.
Please contact Heather Gillette if you are interested in joining the Project:PTA Steering Committee.
How can Council help you? Give us your ideas, your feedback, your needs, concerns, and triumphs.
School Board Reception
School Board Meeting
Important to know:
FedEx discount code: 0520882103!
|Mark Your Calendars
Monday 1/11, 6:30 pm: School Board Recognition Reception
Monday 1/11, 7 pm: School Board Meeting
Thursday 1/14, 9:30 am: Superintendent Coffee, Sherrick Room
Monday 1/18: Martin Luther King Jr Day
Wednesday 1/20: Reflections artwork due to State
Monday 1/25, 7 pm: PTA Council Meeting, Alumni Room
Monday 1/25, 7 pm: School Board Meeting
Other training opportunities (you can attend in any Region, if there is a location and date that is more convenient for you):
League of Education Voters Activist Training, January 23
What’s in store for League of Education Voters’ 6th annual activist training? A lot! Parents and community advocates from all over Washington will come together on January 23rd for an all-day event that will challenge your assumptions on the relationship between education funding and funding equity. We’ll deep-dive on issues like charter schools, special education, parent empowerment, the McCleary case, and others in an effort to prepare us all for the 2016 legislative session. Whether you’ve attended every year, or this is your first time joining us, we can’t wait to bring you this session’s list of hot topics. In particular, we’ve chosen to highlight two of the most contentious issues in the legislature right now: Funding and Equity. Or is it Equity and Funding? You tell us.
- Do charter schools really divert funds from students? Or are those funds going directly to the students who need it most?
- Where has all the money gone? The legislature approved it, the dollars are flowing, but is it going to the right classrooms?
- Are policymakers asking the community how to spend additional education dollars?
- How can you get involved and start to make a difference in your own district?