WASA 2023 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 recognize and appreciate the Legislature’s efforts to address K–12 education concerns in the 2021–23 biennium. While K–12 budgets were largely protected with enrollment and pupil transportation stabilization payments and major investments were finally made to begin needed updates of staffing ratios in the Prototypical School Funding Model, many of our school districts’ most critical needs were passed over. During the 2023 Legislative Session, as a new two-year budget is adopted, it is urgent that K–12 education’s ongoing concerns

are addressed.

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 Legislature to positively act upon the following priorities: 

Advance Equity
Closing opportunity gaps to promote high levels of achievement for all students is critical. WASA urges the Legislature to provide school districts the resources, tools, and flexibility to: ensure fair treatment, equitable access, and opportunity for each student to achieve successful outcomes; and recruit, support, and retain effective district and building staff who reflect the diversity of our student populations, including ethnicity and gender.

Support Basic Education Compensation Rebase
Current law (adopted in 2017’s EHB 2242) requires the Legislature, beginning in 2023, to regularly review and rebase minimum salaries, including regionalization and experience factors, to ensure salary allocations continue to align with staffing costs for the state’s program of basic education. As the compensation system is being rebased, WASA urges: the calculation and application of regionalization factors to be adjusted using school districts’ labor markets, rather than cost of housing alone; the calculation and application of experience factors to be adjusted making the system more transparent and equitable; the previous calendar year’s annual average Seattle-area CPI to be used as an inflationary factor, as adopted by I-732; and the development and implementation of multiple educator pathways and incentives to ensure sufficient and diverse staff are available to districts.

Fully Fund Special Education
In the last four years, the Legislature has: increased the special education excess cost multiplier (2019); provided additional funding for safety net awards (2020); and provided funding for additional transition services, for professional development, and for family liaisons (2021). While these incremental steps to reduce the special education funding gap are positive and appreciated, the 2023 Legislature must take more deliberate action to provide full funding of special education costs and align funding with best practices.

Fix Pupil Transportation
Under STARS, the current Pupil Transportation funding model, many districts experience significant funding gaps; in the last five years, many districts received an allocation below their costs. OFM recently found in most situations, the STARS model is not going to provide adequate resources to school districts and recommends, at the very least, that more funding be provided to the system. We appreciate the 2022 Legislature’s provision of additional funding to address excess costs to transport special passengers; however, it is time to comprehensively fix the pupil transportation formula to ensure it is more transparent, predictable, and adequately funded.

Update Staffing Allocations
We applaud the 2022 Legislature for beginning a phase-in of enhanced staff allocations, specifically investing in staff to meet students’ needs for social, emotional, safety, and behavioral health. This action implements a portion of the Phase I recommendations of the Staffing Enrichment Workgroup (2019). We urge the 2023 Legislature to continue the implementation of the Phase I recommendations by: improving Prototypical School Funding Model (PSFM) levels for school principals to promote school cultures of learning and growth, support students by regularly meeting social-emotional and mental health needs, and address increased responsibilities in supervisory duties of their staff members; providing additional professional development to close achievement gaps; and adding continuous improvement coaches as an enhancement to the PSFM.

Invest in Learning Recovery
The COVID-19 pandemic forced the long-term use of remote learning, which has been detrimental to many students. The 2021 Legislature recognized this, providing significant investments to support learning recovery and acceleration. Unfortunately, most of those programs are supported with one-time funds. Additional, ongoing resources are needed to expand accelerated learning opportunities for tutoring, additional instructional time, and to offer more student supports to address long-term impacts from the pandemic.

Support Capital Facilities
WASA urges the Legislature to: give Washington’s citizens the opportunity to decide whether school district bond issues should be approved with a simple majority vote; and enhance the state’s investment in K–12 construction by updating the current, outdated funding formulas for the Construction Cost Allowance and Student Space Allocation to ensure funding more closely reflects actual construction costs and educational space needs.

Approved by the WASA Legislation and Finance Committee 6–2022
Approved by the WASA Board of Directors 6–2022

Washington Association of School Administrators
PO Box 14459 | Tumwater, WA 98511 | 360.489.3642 | 800.859.9272 | 

WASA is a statewide organization representing 1,00 active and retired public school superintendents and administrators.