WASA 2024 Legislative Platform

WASA believes that the commitment of resources to the education and welfare of the
children of Washington State 
is an investment in the quality of our future.

We believe that effective school leaders initiate and manage change resulting in a
system of K–12 education in which all students receive a quality education.

School administrators are committed to ensuring each and every student is provided with equitable learning environments where they can learn and achieve their educational goals and aspirations. In pursuit of this commitment, WASA urges the 2024 Legislature to positively act upon the following priorities: 
 

Advance Equity
WASA urges the Legislature to provide school districts with the necessary resources, tools, and flexibility to ensure fair treatment and opportunity for each student to achieve successful outcomes. Students of color and economically disadvantaged students were disproportionately impacted during the pandemic. However, all students need access to learning recovery options, including tutoring and extended learning, as well as equitable access to attend Skills Centers. Similarly, additional resources and flexibility are necessary to recruit, support, and retain effective district and building staff who reflect the diversity of our student populations.

Fully Fund Special Education
The 2024 Legislature must fully fund the cost of special education services. Administrators acknowledge the special education funding enhancements the Legislature has made in the last five years. Even with these increases, however, school district expenditures for special education and related services substantially exceed special education funding. This gap requires districts to continue to use local funding sources, including local levies, to cover the excess costs.

Fix Pupil Transportation
The 2024 Legislature must promptly fulfill its obligation to comprehensively fix the pupil transportation formula to ensure it is more transparent, predictable, and adequately funded. In 2022 and 2023, the Legislature provided additional funding for excess costs to transport special passengers. Even so, under the current pupil transportation funding model (STARS), most school districts do not receive sufficient funding for student transportation, forcing districts to use local levy funds to supplant the underfunding.

Provide Consistent and Equitable Education Resources
WASA urges the 2024 Legislature to immediately revamp the methodology of regionalization and experience factors to ensure school districts receive more consistent and equitable resources. The current regionalization methodology of using housing costs is flawed and the implementation of experience factors is unfair. The current calculation of these factors has exacerbated inequities between districts and must be updated swiftly.

Update Staffing Allocations
WASA urges the Legislature to continue to provide for more realistic staffing ratios in the Prototypical School Funding Model (PSFM). The first priority must be the implementation of Phase I of the recommendations from the Staffing Enrichment Workgroup (2019): improving staffing allocations for critically needed school principals; providing additional professional development to close achievement gaps; and adding continuous improvement coaches as an enhancement to the PSFM.

Support Capital Facilities
WASA urges the Legislature to provide robust and reliable funding for school facilities, including funding for school districts that have difficulty passing local bonds or have limited debt capacity to support necessary new construction or modernization. The Legislature must enhance the state’s investment in K–12 construction by updating the antiquated, pre-1980 funding formulas to ensure funding more closely reflects actual construction costs and educational space needs. Additionally, the Legislature must finally give Washington’s citizens the opportunity to decide whether school district bond issues should be approved with a simple majority vote.

Approved by the WASA Legislation and Finance Committee 6–2023
Approved by the WASA Board of Directors 6–2023

Washington Association of School Administrators
PO Box 14459 | Tumwater, WA 98511 | 360.489.3642 | 800.859.9272 | 
www.wasa-oly.org

WASA is a statewide organization representing 1,500 active and retired public school superintendents and administrators.