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The state’s new health insurance program for school employees, known as School Employees Benefits Board (SEBB) Program, comes with increased, unsustainable costs to school districts.

RECOMMENDATION: Clarify that substitutes and coaches who work part-time are not benefit-eligible and eliminate school districts’ required payments for employees who opt-out of coverage.

Last year, the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) identified about a $350 million shortfall in special education funding. The 2019 Legislature adjusted the funding formula, which reduced that shortfall by $155 million. However, school districts must continue to use limited levy dollars to cover the deficit.

RECOMMENDATION: Fully fund the cost of special education.

In 2019, the Legislature passed 2SHB 1216, designed to increase school safety and student well-being. To realize the full potential of that legislation, school districts need more counselors, nurses, and safety personnel to meet the needs of students and keep schools safe.

RECOMMENDATION: Fully fund the recommendations laid out in 2SHB 1216 to provide personnel to meet the social, emotional, and behavioral needs of students.

Our state’s new salary allocation model does not take into account how much salaries actually cost school districts. The “experience factor,” adopted in 2018 to address the problem, failed to help 36 out of the 44 districts in our region.

RECOMMENDATION: Expand “experience factor” eligibility, to further lessen inequities among school districts.

Our state’s new regionalization factor implemented through EHB 2242 in 2017, increases state funding to “property-rich” districts, and have again increased the disparity between districts.

RECOMMENDATION: Maintain current district support and recalculate the regionalization factor to prevent a further widening of the funding gap between
school districts.

This 2020 Legislative Platform was approved by the superintendents of the 44 public school districts and one tribal compact school served by Capital Region ESD 113.