State Legislative Session Starts to Get Interesting
by School's Out Washington | | Posted under
The 2015 Washington State Legislative Session is past its half way point. Now that many bills have either died or are making their way through the legislative process, the budget will become the major focus. The House should be releasing its budget the week of March 23rd and the Senate shortly thereafter. Negotiations between the House, Senate, and Governor’s Office will then begin with the main debates focusing on how to fund education in light of the Supreme Court McCleary decision, the need for additional revenue, and/or what programs to cut if there is not enough revenue to balance the budget.
While most of the debate will focus on the regular school day, there are some pieces of legislation affecting ELOs at the state level:
- The first two bills are almost identical and are known as the Early Start Act (House Bill 1491/Senate Bill 5452). While these bills mostly affect the state’s early learning quality rating improvement system known as Early Achievers, there is also language in the bill that calls on the Department of Early Learning to develop an Early Achievers pilot for school-age programs. Should this bill pass, many opportunities and benefits available to early learning (birth to age 5) providers such as consistent funding and professional development will be available for school-age programs as well.
- The third bill is the Academic, Innovation, and Mentoring Program (AIM) (House Bill 5303). This bill would provide funding to expanded learning programs to help them find mentors in many high-demand professions, such as health care and technology. These mentors can show youth a pathway to a career that they may not have thought was possible for them. We are working on tweaking the language to make sure that both small and large programs can benefit from AIM.
Write your legislators now to let them know you support these bills. Action only happens when you raise your voice to be heard!
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