Legislative Priorities

  • Decrease Text Size
  • Increase Text Size

Jefferson MS Paper Rollercoasters

 

Legislative Priorities

The Board of Directors (the “Board”) of Olympia School District No. 111, Thurston County, Washington (the “District”) identifies that the Olympia School District will face funding shortfalls in the 2024-25 school year and beyond. The shortfalls are caused, in part, by long-term structural inequitable funding mechanisms and underfunded state or federal requirements. These shortfalls are exacerbated by enrollment declines. To address these financial realities, the Board supports necessary legislative action this session at the state level as follows:

 

Levy Reform

Local Enrichment Levies are intended to be enrichment to basic education. Until the state fully funds its commitments, school districts are forced to supplement basic education with local levies rather than make programmatic choices that fit the needs and values of each diverse community. The cap on local levies is hindering communities from supporting their schools and is depleting the K-12 system from having meaningful enrichment programs including after school programs and small schools.

 

We urge the Legislature to address the inequities in the current levy system and support communities working with their districts to provide the educational needs of their students. Maintaining the ability for school districts to access local, voter-approved levy funding and, revising how levy authority is calculated to be based on a designated percentage of each school district's budget, and reinstating and fully funding LEA as originally conceived in 1989 (50 percent levy equalization as a 'floor' for equalization funding) with the goal of equalizing 100 percent of the total amount levied.

 

Olympia School District is set to rollback $7.4 million in 2024. That is taxes our community voted for, that cannot be collected since the 2018 McCleary Reforms.

 

Special Education

The Legislature has made significant investments in Special Education over the last several years. But new funding and reform has yet to fully cover the cost of providing the federally mandated educational supports for students with disabilities. In 2022-23, Olympia diverted more than $8,155,000 from other programs to support the special ed program. These are funds that should be providing rich curricular programs for all students, engagement with families, support for teachers and leaders, and other supports to ensure all students are prepared for the future they choose.

 

 


 

Bills Under Review this Legislative Session

 

House Bill No.

Senate Bill No.

Name

Topic

What it Does

Estimated New Revenue (unknown new expenditures)

1960

5882

Increasing prototypical school staffing to better meet student needs.

Prototype

Increases the ratio of paraeducators and school office professionals in the prototypical funding model.

$496,000

2180

6014

Increasing the special education enrollment funding cap.

Special Ed

Increases the special education enrollment funding cap from 15% to 17.25%. Our district was at 16.23% for K-21 as of January 2024.

$1,415,000

1973

5852

Special education safety net awards.

Special Ed

Limits what the committee may review during the Safety Net application and review process.

Unknown

2494

--

State funding for operating costs in schools.

MSOC

Increases per pupil MSOC rates for General Ed and High School enhancement.

$215,000

5873

--

Adequate and predictable student transportation.

Transportation

Study by OSPI to create a new funding formula; 

Provides $400 for each student that requires special transportation due to the requirements of the McKinney Vento homeless assistance act

$19,200

 

 


 

 

Thurston County Legislators

 

22nd District:

35th District: