2020 Legislative Priorities

  • The Spokane Public Schools Board of Directors urge the Legislature and the Governor to focus on passing legislation in 2020 that would:

    ENSURE FULL IMPLEMENTATION OF THE EDUCATION FUNDING PLAN FOR CRITICAL WHOLE STUDENT SUPPORTS

    • Update the decades-old Prototypical School Funding Model staffing ratios to adequately meet student support needs in local districts, which have grown exponentially while funding ratios for staff positions have remained at 1980s implementation levels
    • Provide investment in school health by increasing the funding allocation for school nurses and mental health support for students where the state covers approximately one-third of current SPS staffing
    • Provide additional state investment in special education students by updating funding formulas to accurately reflect cost, which is currently $8 million short of the cost to SPS
    • Provide adequate investment in school safety staffing and support

    CREATE PUBLIC POLICY TO BETTER MEET EVOLVING STUDENT HEALTH, SAFETY, AND ACADEMIC NEEDS

    • Work with school boards across the state to support a public education campaign that makes Washington a leader in warning young people about the serious dangers of vaping and using tobacco in any form
    • Develop clear exemptions around the release of documents that could compromise the safety of students, staff, and community members in schools
    • Develop a wide variety of pathways to allow students a successful transition from high school to higher education to career and technical education
    • Enhance statewide pre-K supports such as ECEAP eligibility, workforce development, and early learning facilities to increase the number of students who have equitable access to a high-quality preschool experience prior to starting kindergarten

    IMPROVE THE EDUCATOR WORKFORCE

    • Expand “experience factor” eligibility to lessen the inequities created by the new one-size-fits-all statewide average salary allocation, which assists only 56 of 295 districts and hurts school districts with a veteran staff, including SPS with nearly 40 percent of teachers exceeding 16 years of experience
    • Provide a solution to allow employees to continue the long-standing practice of “job sharing” positions, which has become cost prohibitive under existing state School Employees Benefits Board (SEBB) regulations, by creating exemptions for certain positions
    • Ensure equitable salaries through a statewide salary schedule as well as statewide collective bargaining

    PROVIDE ADEQUATE CAPITAL FUNDING FOR SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION

    • Update the school construction assistance program formula to reflect true construction costs and funding for state-required class size reductions

    The Board of Directors look forward to working with the Legislature and the Governor’s Office on actions that will assist Spokane Public Schools achieve its goals and that help all students meet their potential.

    Our Guiding Principles are:

    We believe:

    • Each student can learn and deserves our best efforts.
    • High expectations and rigorous standards are essential to prepare students for their future success.
    • Accountability is essential to ensure excellence for everyone.
    • Diversity in people and ideas enhances learning and strengthens our community.
    • A variety of learning environments, educational options, and instructional techniques creates a setting where all students can succeed.
    • Education is a partnership involving students, parents, staff, and the community.
    • Transparent communication with all stakeholders is essential.
    • All decisions must be student-focused and data-driven.
    • Fiscal stability strengthens our schools and community.

    Our Strategic Goals are:

    Strategic Goal I: Increase Student Achievement

    Strategic Goal II: Provide a Safe, Productive Learning and Working Environment

    Strategic Goal III: Build and Maintain a Talented, Effective Workforce

    Strategic Goal IV: Operate Efficiently

    Strategic Goal V: Ensure Public Support and Customer Satisfaction

    Decisions to support or oppose legislation, or take a position on funding proposals, will be based on whether the legislation or proposals are consistent with the district’s guiding principles and assist in meeting the district’s strategic goals.