What changes could come to Washington’s public schools in 2020? These bills offer a sneak peek

January 4th, 2020|

From the Seattle Times 

State lawmakers don’t return to Olympia until later this month, but they spent the final weeks of 2019 filing early versions of bills they hope to advance during this year’s short legislative session.

The total list of pre-filed bills — more than 200 as of Friday — doesn’t represent the entirety of the Legislature’s priorities ahead of its 60-day session, which likely will focus on making tweaks to the biennial budget adopted last year. Still, the proposed legislation offers a preview of what changes, if any, lawmakers want to make to K-12 spending and policy, for this or next year.

Here’s a short list of some of the bills related to public schools that may be up for debate when the Legislature convenes on Jan. 13:

Free feminine-hygiene products in school: Senate Bill 6073

Late last fall, Sen. Manka Dhingra, D-Redmond, visited a social studies class at Lake Washington High School.

There, she heard a presentation from six students about why school districts should provide feminine-hygiene products at no cost to students in middle and high school. And that presentation inspired Dhingra to file SB 6073.

“Without menstrual products, nearly 1 in 5 American girls have either left school early or missed school entirely,” Dhingra said, citing some of the students’ research.

“It is an unfunded mandate,” she said.

“Just having feminine-hygiene products available to young girls helps them stay in schools, helps them focus (and) helps them with their education,” Dhingra added. “This is something that should have been done years ago.”

By Neal Morton