Tuesday, February 12, 2013

This Week in Olympia: Punching Teachers is Bad

Monday:  The Senate K-12 Committee will be hearing SB5497, which makes it a case of 3rd Degree Assault to punch a teacher.  Bus drivers and their supervisors are already covered, which would be an interesting piece of legislative history to see where that came from, but this creates equal footing.  It's law that I hope isn't used often.

At the same time over in the House the Capital Budget committee will be hearing a pair of bills related to school district construction, and Reuven Carlyle's Flaming Liberal Finance Committee will be having a work session on the Joint Task Force on Education Funding.

Tuesday:  I'd guess that the House Higher Education committee will start getting more interesting as the session goes along and they'd have to take legislative action on things like differential tuition, but for now their 8:00 meeting covers non-controversial topics like letting veterans register for classes early.

At 1:30 both the Early Learning and Education Committees are meeting; I'm rather interested in the farm apprenticeship program (HB1276), which could be good for several schools here in Eastern Washington.  On the Senate side the Higher Education committee is scheduled to hear a draft bill on efficiency, which is in draft form on the committee website now.

The day ends with the House Appropriations Committee hearing a bill on differential tuition, while the Senate Ways and Means gets the first crack at one of the dumb bills that Senator Litzow got out of the K-12 Education Committee.

(Aside:  How dumb?  The fiscal note for the bill points out that the State can't direct how Title funds are spent, the way that the bill did, so expect to see amended out something that shouldn't have ever been there in the first place)

(Aside to the aside:  The Democrats did the exact same thing with federal stimulus funds two years back, so there's that)

The most important thing today is the school bonds and levies that will be voted on around the state.  Good luck to you if you have one up!

Wednesday:  One of the keynote bills of the WEA, regarding collective bargaining for Community College employees, gets a hearing in the House Labor and Workforce Development Committee at 8:00.

At 1:30 the Senate K-12 Committee will be hearing a bill to change the testing requirements and codify a lot of the Common Core work that has gone on.  At the same time the House Higher Education Committee will be hearing a pair of efficiencies bills, including the companion to the bill heard in the Senate on Tuesday.

The meeting I'll be paying the most attention to is at 3:30, when the Senate W&M Committee is holding a hearing on what the potential impact of the sequestration at the federal level could be on the state.  For a district like mine, where federal aid is a huge percentage of our budget, it would be devastating.

At the same time, the House Appropriations has a meeting scheduled to pass the differential tuition bill they're hearing on Tuesday.

Thursday:  Happy Valentine's Day!

At 8:00 the House Education committee will be hearing a bill related to on-line learning; expect one of the lobbyists from Valley to be there.  A different bill would yank your license if you lie about your WEST-B or E scores, which was legislation done by request of the Professional Educator Standards Board if memory serves me.

At 10:00 the House Higher Education committee is having a work session on "Postsecondary affordability", lead by the Economic Opportunity Institute.  They're also set to pass a bill authorizing a couple of new educational specialist degrees at Western and Central.

In the afternoon, starting at 1:30, you've got Senate Higher Education, then at 3:30 the Senate Ways and Means committee will be hearing a bill prime sponsored by Rosemary McAuliffe that would raise more money to pay for the McCleary decision.  It has no sponsors from the Majority Coalition, though, so I can't see a path for it to move forward.

Also at 3:30 the House Education Appropriations subcommittee will be holding a session on the importance of school counselors.  We lost mine at our school this year, and the absence has certainly been felt.

Friday:  In the morning Litz and the Tantrums will be playing over on the Senate side at 8:00; the most interesting bill on the agenda is their proposal to pay math and science teachers more.  They'll have to be deemed "expert" by the PESB, a group that isn't exactly known for the brevity of their work, so if this bill were law I wouldn't worry about it until well after 2020.

In the afternoon the House Education committee will be hearing an idea, prime sponsored by Brad Klippert, to make it easier for districts to look at going to a four day school week.  It's mildly interesting to see Eric Pettigrew signed on as a co-sponsor--Seattle would never, ever do this--and also look for the PSE of Washington to be out in force, because while teachers are protected from the impact of a four day week because of the salary schedule, it's devastating to bus drivers, custodians, and cafeteria workers who lose 20% of their salary.

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