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Sen. Chase

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May 8, 2017

Subject: This is about education

Dear friends and neighbors,

I stand with the 117 superintendents in the state who remain committed and available to assisting with and moving the K-12 education negotiation process forward to a successful resolution. Our superintendents and educators are on the front lines of education and are charged with leading the public schools in our local communities. They possess the experience, expertise and insights that will help shape the best possible outcomes for our communities and the children, families and staff they serve.

In recent letters to the legislature, the governor and stakeholders, the superintendents outlined their concerns with the main challenges of the McCleary decision and the legislature’s paramount duty to amply and fully fund education in our state. As the operating budget process continues, they hope the legislature will address the following issues:

Collective Bargaining – We are unanimous in our stance that collective bargaining must be reformed.  At a minimum, “guardrails” or “bumpers” must be in place that prohibit bargaining of local levy resources for basic education duties and responsibilities. Without reform of collective bargaining – particularly around use of local levy resources – we are strongly concerned that a significant new investment of State resources will not produce the outcomes and program improvements the Legislature intends. We are further concerned that absent a reform of collective bargaining as it currently exists, a regression to the current unconstitutional funding system at some point in the future is a certainty.

Salary Schedule and Salary Allocation Model – We support continuation of a state salary schedule and allocation model to assure consistency, uniformity and equity across our region and state. We are open to proposals that would simplify the current model with fewer educational, certification and/or experience steps; however, the state salary schedule is a basis for local salary schedules across our region, and eliminating it altogether would present a significant challenge for each district to create and negotiate individually.

TRII and Supplemental Pay – We strongly support clear and specific limitations on the use of local levy resources for compensated time outside of the 180-day student year or for duties and responsibilities that are clearly distinguishable from those routinely expected of any teacher.

Allocation and Funding Model – We support a structure that allocates resources primarily utilizing the prototypical school model as an objective, research-based approach to generating funding for staff positions. Such a model can be periodically reviewed and modified over time to meet changing needs. We are open to a per pupil funding model that is grounded in the prototypical funding model and does not supplant state funding with federal or local resources.

Health Benefits – We support a transition to a statewide health benefits program for K-12 employees. Such a transition must thoughtfully account for any increased district costs, including the potential for a sizeable increase in benefit-eligible employees.

Salary Increments for Teachers – We support continued salary increments for advanced degrees and years of experience. We also support continued salary recognition for teachers who obtain National Board Certification. We do not support bonus or merit systems and view them as both inherently unreliable to administer and destructive to building and sustaining a collaborative district and school culture that best serves all children.

Professional Development – Recognizing the need and value of ongoing learning and growth, we support 10 days annually of professional development outside the 180-day school year with local flexibility to schedule some or all of the equivalent professional development time within the 180-day school year (e.g. extended work days, Saturdays, evenings, etc.) as a component of basic education.

Cost of Living Adjustments – We support regular cost of living adjustments as a component of basic education to assure that salaries remain competitive to attract and retain a high-quality workforce.

Regionalization or Poverty Factors – We recognize the unique challenges of attracting and retaining staff members to high cost, remote and/or high poverty districts and support a salary allocation model that provides additional incentives to attract and retain high-quality staff in communities so impacted.

Beginning Teacher Pay – We support a significant increase in the minimum salary for beginning teachers to at least $45,000 annually to appropriately recognize a comparable market value for beginning teacher pay and to attract a larger pool of high-quality candidates to the teaching profession.

Expenditure Limitation for Salary and Benefits – We have limited support for an imposed or fixed percentage of district expenditures for salaries and benefits. We see this as potentially unworkable on a statewide level and non-responsive to the unique and varied circumstances and expenditure drivers across school districts. If a percentage is imposed, it should be at least 85% of district expenditures.

Grandfathered Levies and Salaries – Given a sufficient infusion of state resources to fully and amply fund basic education and competitive, market-rate salaries, we support the elimination of grandfathered levy lids and salary allocations – subject to the “hold harmless” provision below – if not immediately, then over no longer than a 2-3 year period.

Hold Harmless During Transition – As the Legislature implements a program of full and ample basic education funding through a negotiated compromise of the proposals thus far introduced in the legislative session – or new ideas not yet under public consideration – we strongly support a “hold harmless” provision for any districts detrimentally impacted under the new funding structure ultimately adopted until such time as the funding model “catches up” to those districts’ current funding levels.

Local Levy Lid – In an environment of full and ample funding of basic education, we believe the current levy lid would no longer be necessary to support local enhancements. Provided a consistent and ongoing State commitment to maintain full and ample funding of basic education and sufficient “guardrails” to assure that local levy funds only support locally determined enhancements to basic education, we believe a lower local levy lid of 10-20% of combined state and federal funding is supportable.

Fund Accounting/Audit Standards – While we fully support the assurance that local levy resources do not fund basic education, especially compensation, we do not support overly burdensome requirements that will significantly increase operational and audit expenses. We strongly oppose separate accounting for state, federal and local revenues and expenditures and/or compliance determination through annual State audits.  We support tasking the best school district finance minds with developing reasonable and workable solutions to provide the assurance and separation of state and local funding we all desire.

Local Effort Assistance – In the transitional phase to a new funding structure, we support continuation of Local Effort Assistance as an important means of assuring equity of enhancement opportunities across districts. We can provide qualified support for elimination of local effort assistance conditioned on a full, ample and consistently funded program of basic education.

 “Levy Swap” – We do not support re-purposing current local levy capacity to fund the State’s basic education obligation.

The superintendents also write:

“We urge immediate, serious and urgent negotiations towards a final compromise plan that meets the affirmative constitutional right of every Washington child to a fully funded basic education. In the absence of such a final compromise plan, our districts are unable to meet critical dates in developing plans to achieve our primary mission of educating all children. Most importantly, every day of delay is another day in which our State’s children are further denied their most basic constitutional right to an equitable and amply funded education.”

I share the concerns of our Educational Service Districts and the coalition of Washington Education Associations including school boards and principles. I am working with my colleagues to find a compromise solution that benefits our 1.1 million public school students and our educators.

Best regards,

 

Feb. 10, 2017: E-newsletter

No more excuses. Fully and fairly fund education now

Sen. Maralyn Chase

Contact Information:

Office: (360) 786-7662

Legislative Hotline: (800) 562-6000

Email: Maralyn.Chase@leg.wa.gov

Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 40432

Olympia, WA 98504-0432

 Committees:

Agriculture, Water, Trade & Economic Development

(Ranking Member)

Rules

In this issue:

  • Democratic education proposal
  • Keeping foreign money out of Washington’s elections
  • Protections for prescription drug users
  • How to find a recycling location near you
  • Did you know Washington State has three budgets?

Democratic education proposal

The Democratic education proposal, SB 5623, addresses equitable and responsible investments in the state’s basic education program and reductions to local effort contributions to fulfill the state’s paramount duty for all children.kids

  • Returns class size reductions to a level of 19:1 and skills center class size reduction to 16:1 as established in Initiative 1351.
  • Provides additional funding for the Learning Assistance Program, Transitional Bilingual Instruction Program and Special Education to help address the opportunity gap.
  • Increases investments in the Highly Capable program by increasing the number of instructional hours from 2.159 to 3.2 hours over two years.
  • Increases allocations for Guidance Counselors and Parent Involvement Coordinators in recognition of the enhancements established in Initiative 1351.
  • Includes educator salaries in the definition of the program of basic education.
  • Establishes that the salaries must be adjusted annually for inflation.
  • Adds professional development to the definition of basic education.
  • Includes 10 professional learning days when fully phased-in.

Keeping foreign money out of Washington’s elections

As American citizens, our First Amendment rights grant us the freedom to participate in elections. That right is not extended to foreign nationals or corporations with foreign owners. However, the threat of foreign influence on American elections became all too real in the 2016 elections.

Senate Bill 5570 would prevent foreign-owned companies from contributing to political campaigns in Washington state. This legislation is a major step forward to help prevent foreign  money from influencing the outcomes of our state’s elections.

Protections for prescription drug users

Washingtonians who rely on prescription drugs for their health areRx drug prices becoming more expensive to purchase. Some people and families are pushed to the brink due to the high cost of these drugs. No one should have to choose between getting the medication they need, buying groceries, or paying the rent.

Senate Bill 5586 would require pharmaceutical and insurance companies to report the costs of prescription drug manufacturing and pricing data.  This information would be reported to the Legislature to help protect consumers from unfair prescription drug increases.

recycleHow to find a recycling location near you

Click here to find recycling locations in Washington. Operated by the Department of Ecology, this website includes drop-off sites for electronics, appliances and hazardous waste material.

 

Did you know Washington state has three budgets?

The budget that pays for the day-to-day operations of state government is called the operating budget. This pays the costs of operating our schools and universities, state parks, fire fighters, teachers, police and other state services and programs.

The transportation budget pays for the design and maintenance of our roads and public transit, as well as other transportation activities including ferries. This budget includes money for both transportation operating activities and transportation construction programs.

The budget to acquire, build, and maintain public schools and universities, prisons, state buildings, parks and other infrastructure assets is called the capital budget.

The 2016 Citizen’s Guide to the Budget offers a helpful overview of how the budget works.

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No more excuses. Fully and fairly fund education now

Sen. Maralyn Chase

Contact Information:

Office: 360-786-7662

Legislative Hotline: (800) 562-6000

Email: Maralyn.Chase@leg.wa.gov

Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 40432

Olympia, WA 98504-0432

Committees:

Rules

Agriculture, Water, Trade & Economic Development

 

 E-news update: February 6, 2017

In this issue:

·       The Democratic education proposal

·       Justice for human trafficking victims

·       Removing barriers to voting

·       Unemployment tax rates continue to fall

·       Page opportunities at the legislature

·       Senate Democrats are on Facebook and Twitter

The Democratic education proposal

The Democratic education proposal, Senate Bill 5623, addresses equitable and responsible investments in the state’s basic education program and reductions to local effort contributions to fulfill the state’s paramount duty for all children.

·       Returns class size reductions to a level of 19:1 and skills center class size reduction to 16:1 as established in Initiative 1351.

·       Provides additional funding for the Learning Assistance Program, Transitional Bilingual Instruction Program and Special Education to help address the opportunity gap.

·       Increases investments in the Highly Capable program by increasing the number of instructional hours from 2.159 to 3.2 hours over two years.

·       Increases allocations for Guidance Counselors and Parent Involvement Coordinators in recognition of the enhancements established in Initiative 1351.education

·       Includes educator salaries in the definition of the program of basic education.

·       Establishes that the salaries must be adjusted annually for inflation.

·       Adds professional development to the definition of basic education.

·       Includes 10 professional learning days when fully phased-in.

 

Justice for human trafficking victims

Human trafficking is a form of human slavery which includes forced labor, domestic servitude, and commercial sex trafficking. People are bought, sold, and smuggled like modern-day slaves, often beaten, starved, and forced to work as prostitutes or to take jobs as migrant, domestic, restaurant, or factory workers with little or no pay.

Washington is a destination state for human trafficking because of its Pacific Rim location, SeaTac International Airport and the ports of Seattle and Tacoma.

Senate Bill 5272  aims to help survivors of trafficking and sexual exploitation by allowing a person to vacate a conviction for prostitution even if the crimes were the result of being a victim of a human trafficking. This is bill can have significant and positive impacts on the lives of girls, boys, women and men who have survived trafficking and sexual exploitation.

Removing barriers to voting

Democrats believe in an inclusive democracy that represents all Americans. Our country and state are better, stronger, more representative democracy when more people participate.

Senate Bill 5192 proposes to allow voters the opportunity to register in person up until 5 p.m. on the election day as well as reducing on-line and mail registration deadlines from 29 days prior to an election day to 8 days prior.

This bill would help remove barriers to voting and allow people the flexibility to register when it works best for their schedule. For some, that may be on election day. Research shows that allowing same day voter registration on election day increases voter turnout and does not favor a political party.

With passage of SB 5192, Washington would join 15 states across the country and the District of Columbia have adopted same day voter registration laws.

Unemployment tax rates continue to fall

ESD LogoThe Washington State Employment Security Department (ESD) reports about 82 percent of employers will move into a lower rate class or stay the same in 2017. Since 2012, the average unemployment tax rate has fallen every year and the estimated 2017 rate is the lowest in history of the UI system in the state of Washington.

The average tax rate will decrease from an estimated 1.38 percent in 2016 to an estimated 1.24 percent in 2017. The average total tax paid per employee will decline by $24 to $232 and about 39 percent of all taxable employers are in rate-class 1, taxed at 0.10 percent.

For more information about how unemployment tax rates are calculated, check out the ESD website at this link.

Page opportunities at the legislature

The Washington State Legislature has one of the finest page programs in the country. Hundreds of students throughout Washington have an opportunity each year to take part in the legislative process and observe the legislature and other branches of state government in action.pages

Serving as a state page is a unique, fun and exciting opportunity. Students gain hands-on experience and knowledge by assisting with the legislature’s work: making deliveries and performing other necessary tasks. Pages also spend part of each day attending Page School. Page School is an opportunity for pages to learn about the Legislature’s role, its process, and its participants.

Legislators sponsor the pages. Eligible students can be from a public, private, or home school, and must be between 14 and 16 years-old at the time they page. The Senate and House of Representatives both have page programs.

Please click here for more information about the page program to include an application form. This informative video shows a day in the life of a page.

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January 27, 2017: E-newsletter

Committees:

Agriculture, Water, Trade & Economic Development

Rules

Contact:

Email: Maralyn.Chase@leg.wa.gov

Olympia Office
(360) 786-7662

Legislative Hotline
(800) 562-6000

Dear friends and neighbors,

I am proud to represent the 32nd Legislative District in the Washington State Senate. We are just now finishing up the third week of the session and have been very busy working in committees to hear the many bill proposals put before the legislature.

This year, I was selected by my colleagues to be the ranking member on the Agriculture, Water, Trade & Economic Development Committee. I also serve on the Rules Committee. I am passionate about advancing policies that build prosperity and economic development in our state. I am also committed to the advancement of human rights for all. I have proposed several pieces of legislation this year that touch on these issues.

You may find the full list of bills I am prime sponsoring here.

If you haven’t been to my Olympia office yet this year, I want to let you know I have moved. I am now located in office 224 of the John A. Cherberg Building. I hope you will continue to contact me whenever you want to talk about issues that are important to our district and the Chase groupfuture of our state.

This week, I was pleased to meet with a group of constituents who were in Olympia for Grandmothers Against Gun Violence Lobby Day.

Until next time,

asd

 

No more excuses. Fully and fairly fund education now

Fully and fairly funding education is, and always has been, a priority for me. It is also the primary focus of Democrats for the 2017 legislative session.

For the past seven months, Democratic and Republican lawmakers on the Education Funding Task Force met to develop solutions to solve our education funding problems and help Washington’s 1.1 million schoolchildren.

Democrats answered the call and released a detailed plan. We proposed solutions to: ease the burden on taxpayers by ending the reliance on local levies to pay for basic education. The proposal would also provide stable, reliable, and sufficient revenue needed to provide quality education for our children in every school across our state.

It is a fact that the State of Washington has the most regressive tax code in the country. Tax exemptions designed to encourage valuable economic activity have spiraled out of control. There are some in the legislature that claim we have a spending problem. I believe we do not have out of control spending; we have out of control tax exemptions. Restoring the tax base is our only path to a fully funded education system.

Funding education by pushing the burden to our low-income and working families and by slashing health care, public safety and other critical state services is unconscionable and dangerous.

Pass the levy cliff  bill: Avoid the largest school funding cut in historymap

If schools are allowed to go over the “levy cliff” it would result in the largest cut to education in the history of the state.

Democrats have introduced legislation in both the Senate and House to prevent this massive cut to our schools, SB 5023 and HB 1059. With bipartisan support, the House passed HB 1059 earlier this week. The Senate should now take action on this bill and prevent a cut of $358 million to schools across the state.

On Monday, all 24 Democratic senators sent a letter to the Republican Majority Leader, urging him to immediately consider HB 1059 in the Senate.

With state schools currently writing their budgets for the 2018 school year, the Senate must act now to extend the levy lid one year and provide certainty to Washington’s 1.1 million school kids and their teachers. In lieu of legislative action, schools will have no choice but to layoff many teachers, an action that will jeopardize the quality of our children’s education.

Click here or on the the map to see how much each school district stands to lose.

Making Washington Sick Again

With congressional Republicans vowing to dismantle the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or Obamacare, hundreds-of-thousands of Washingtonians are in danger of losing their health care insurance.

Here’s who would be left out in the cold should Republicans repeal the ACA:

  • 600,000 people on Medicaid. That’s the number of Washingtonians who are newly insured thanks to the ACA. Repeal the ACA and they lose their coverage. Washington’s budget takes a hit, too, if Congress reverses the ACA’s Medicaid expansion which has saved Washington roughly $1.6 billion, or about $300 million per year since the ACA has been fully implemented.
  • 123,000 people on the Health Benefit Exchange. That’s the number of people who receive substantial subsidies to buy coverage and who wouldn’t be able to afford it otherwise.
  • 17,000 young people. That’s the number of young people in Washington between the ages of 19 and 25 who are allowed to stay on their parent’s insurance thanks to the ACA.
  • Hospitals. Before the ACA, hospitals in Washington had to treat people who had no insurance and showed up in emergency rooms. This month, the American Hospital Association warned that if the ACA is repealed, the nation’s hospitals will lose billions of dollars. This will adversely affect patients’ access to care, decimate hospitals’ ability to provide services, weaken local economies and result in massive job losses.

Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

On Jan. 16, in accordance with the Dr. Martin Luther KingDr. King Jr. holiday, an MLK Day March and Rally were held on the state Capitol campus honoring the birth, life and vision of this great American.

Dr. King inspired others to engage in civic and social activism during the civil rights movement of the 1960s. His unwavering support for the principles of racial justice and social equality helped change America and end the legal segregation of African-Americans in the South. In 1963, during the March on Washington, D.C., Dr. King delivered his famous ‘I Have a Dream’ speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to a gathering of over 250,000 people.

Dr. King received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, among other honors. Although he has been gone for nearly 50 years, Dr. King’s impact and legacy continue, as does the struggle to fulfill his dream.

What’s a cut-off calendar?

The 2017, 105-day regular legislative session that started Jan. 9 is scheduled to conclude on April 23.  The Senate and House impose a series of deadlines — called the cut-off calendar — that establishes when bills must pass if they are to be considered for further action.  Bills that do not pass by these deadlines die unless they are fiscal bills that are necessary to pass the budget.

On Feb. 17, bills that don’t require funding that were introduced in the Senate and House must pass out of the committees where they were first assigned.  Bills that require money have to pass out of the Senate Ways & Means and Transportation committees and House fiscal committees by Feb. 24.  The third cut-off date is March 8, when bills introduced in the Senate must pass out of the Senate, and bills introduced in the House must pass out of the House.

For bills that successfully pass the House or Senate, the process then starts over in the other chamber. Senate bills go to the House, and House bills go the Senate, where they move through the same cut-off process all over again: March 29 for bills not requiring funding and April 4 for bills that require funding. Senate bills must pass out of the House by April 12 and the same for House bills in the Senate.

April 13 through the conclusion of regular session is a time when the House and Senate negotiate non-fiscal bills that passed both the House and Senate but in different versions; bills that passed both chambers without amendment are sent directly to the governor to be signed into law. During this time, the House and Senate also negotiate bills that cost money.

Click here for a PDF version of the cutoff calendar.

2017 Cutoff Calendar

Jan. 9, 2017 First Day of Session
Feb. 17, 2017 Last day to read in committee reports (pass bills out of committee and read them into the record on the floor) in house of origin, except House fiscal committees and Senate Ways & Means and Transportation committees.
Feb. 24, 2017 Last day to read in committee reports (pass bills out of committee and read them into the record on the floor) from House fiscal committees and Senate Ways & Means and Transportation committees in house of origin.
March 8, 2017 Last day to consider (pass) bills in house of origin (5 p.m.).
March 29, 2017 Last day to read in committee reports (pass bills out of committee and read them into the record on the floor) from opposite house, except House fiscal committees and Senate Ways & Means and Transportation committees.
April 4, 2017 Last day to read in opposite house committee reports (pass bills out of committee and read them into the record on the floor) from House fiscal committees and Senate Ways & Means and Transportation committees.
April 12, 2017* Last day to consider (pass) opposite house bills (5 p.m.) (except initiatives and alternatives to initiatives, budgets and matters necessary to implement budgets, differences between the houses, and matters incidental to the interim and closing of the session).
April 23, 2017 Last day allowed for regular session under state constitution.
* After the 94th day, only initiatives, alternatives to initiatives, budgets and matters necessary to implement budgets, matters that affect state revenue, messages pertaining to amendments, differences between the houses, and matters incident to the interim and closing of the session may be considered.

 

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