Jul 312017

Advocacy and Public Policy Briefing

Prepared by Susan D. Baird-Joshi, Region 2 Legislative Chair, Washington State PTA * July 29, 2017

1. Ballots Due August 1, 2017

Mail your Washington State ballots or drop them off by Tuesday, August 1, 2017, 8 p.m. Issues in this summer ballot

include taxes and preliminary votes for elected officials:

• King County Proposition 1 Sales Tax for Cultural Access Program

• Elected positions with more than two candidates (school district boards, city councils, port commissioners, and

county executive)

The ballot mailer includes a list of drop-off locations in King County. For more election information, visit the King

County Elections home page, http://kingcounty.gov/depts/elections.aspx. For news and reminders, visit the KC Elections

Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/kcelections/ .

WA State PTA has not taken a position on Prop. 1. PTAs cannot endorse candidates.

2. Washington State Legislative Session Includes Benefits for Children and Families

Extending into multiple special sessions during the summer, the Washington State Legislature and Governor approved a

budget that includes funding provisions to address the McCleary decision, requiring the state to “amply fund” K-12 basic

education. The bill included $7.3 billion in new funding for K-12 education to satisfy McCleary.

Other actions that could benefit children and families include the Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML) Program,

increased funding for the State Need Grant and a new Department of Children, Youth and Families.

The House proposed a Capital Budget with construction projects throughout the state totaling $4.17 billion, including new

schools. However, the Legislature adjourned before passing the legislation. The Senate Republicans wanted a long-term

solution to the State Supreme Court’s decision affecting property owners’ water rights and abilities to drill wells, known

as the Hirst decision. For more information, see the Governor’s session round-up. https://medium.com/wagovernor/2017-legislative-session-produces-major-achievements-for-washington-74d6d557e3b4

3. Affordable Care Act Proposed Changes Would Have Impacted Washington’s Children

On June 28 Washington State’s Governor Jay Inslee and Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler sent a joint letter to

Washington State’s Congressional delegation—two senators and 10 representatives—urging them to vote no on the

Senate’s Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA). The act did not pass. More children would have lost coverage due to

their parents’ loss of coverage. The governor’s web site has the letter and facts about health insurance in Washington.


Region 2 covers eastern King County and consists of the Bellevue, Issaquah, Lake Washington, Mercer Island, Riverview, and Snoqualmie Valley school districts. https://www.wastatepta.org/pta-leaders/pta-regions/region-2/

Mar 082017

Two major events happened in the legislature on March 8th! 

  1. SB 5023 was brought to the floor of the Senate (this is the Senate version of the bill that would delay the levy cliff, and companion bill to HB 1059). The Senate voted and passed the bill! It will be sent to the House for consideration tomorrow
  2. The Senate passed a Para-educator Bill! This bill (SB 5070) will require standards for para-educators, professional development, a career ladder, a more accessible path to teacher certification, and training for teachers who supervise para-educators. This aligns with one of the Top 5 priorities on this year’s WSPTA legislative platform.
Mar 052017

Hello Council Members!

Below are 3 action items for this month. Email addresses for your local legislators are listed at the bottom of this email. So many of you have already sent in emails and blue postcards. Please keep them coming! Thank you all so much for all you do!

1. Contact your Senator re: bringing House Bill 1059 (Levy Cliff Extension Bill) to a vote. 
The House passed the levy cliff delay bill nearly a month ago and the Senate has rejected two attempts to bring it to the floor for a vote. This is top priority for Issaquah!
Sample subject line: Urgent – Please Pass the Levy Cliff Extension bill HB 1059
Sample email: I urge you to support HB 1059. Students are counting on you to keep teachers in classrooms next year. Our schools are trying to devise an operating budget for next year before April 1st. They are faced with the stress of uncertainty, and the possibility of having to RIF teachers. Levy dollars are voter approved. We cannot afford to lose teachers or funding in our schools. Thank you for taking care of our students and voting to pass HB 1059. (Please give your name and address in the body of the email.)
2. Ask your Representatives to identify new progressive revenue sources to amply fund public education.
The House passed the Democrats’ Education Plan (HB 1843), but they have not yet announced how the state would pay for it.
3. Attend the Education Funding Forum for the 5th and 41st Legislative Districts! 
Join local legislators in a conversation about education funding.
Saturday, March 11, 2017
Tyee Middle School in Bellevue
5th Leg. District
Sen. Mark Mullet – Mark.Mullet@leg.wa.gov
Rep. Paul Graves – PaulGraves@leg.wa.gov
Rep. Jay Rodne – JayRodne@leg.wa.gov
41st Leg. District
Sen. Lisa Wellman – Lisa.Wellman@leg.wa.gov
Rep. Judy Clibborn – JudyClibborn@leg.wa.gov
Rep. Tana Senn – Tana.Senn@leg.wa.gov
Thank you again for your dedication! 😊
Portions of this email are from the Washington’s Paramount Duty website
Mar 012017

You can sign up to receive email updates, newsletters or blog posts in your email for each of these organizations:

Washington State Legislature http://leg.wa.gov/
Washington State PTA Advocacy page http://www.wastatepta.org/advocacy/index.html
Washington State PTA – Advocacy Blog http://wsptagrassroots.blogspot.com/
Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction http://www.k12.wa.us/
Network in Excellence for Washington Schools http://waschoolexcellence.org/
Washington’s Paramount Duty http://paramountduty.org/
Washington’s Paramount Duty – Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/groups/ParamountDuty/
League of Education Voters http://educationvoters.org/
Washington Association of School Administrators (Legislative Updates page) http://wasa-oly.org/WASA/wasa/4_0_Government_Relations/This_Week_in_Olympia_-_TWIO/TWIO.aspx
Washington State School Directors’ Association (legislative updates page) http://www.wssda.org/Legislative/LegislativeUpdates.aspx


Jan 292017
This bill is scheduled for public hearing in the Senate Committee on Ways & Means tomorrow, Monday, January 30th,  at 3:30 PM. Please send your comments now to be of the most benefit. 
Use this link to send your comments: https://app.leg.wa.gov/pbc/bill//1059

For more information including current status and available documents: http://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?BillNumber=1059&Year=2017

Jan 262017

Please read and CALL LEGISLATORS listed at the bottom of this email before 10AM tomorrow (Friday) morning!! We NEED the Senate to vote YES on House Bill 1059 to delay the levy cliff!

Issaquah schools stand to lose $7 million in funding next year if this bill does not pass!

Dear WPD Advocate,

We have an urgent opportunity to avoid teacher layoffs and program cuts that would undermine our children’s education — and we need you to make calls right now.

The State Senate will likely be voting on Friday morning at 10AM on an important procedural motion that, if adopted, would allow a vote on the bill to delay the levy cliff soon afterward. We need to flood Senate offices with calls urging them to bring this bill, HB 1059, to the floor and then to vote yes on it.

Need to find your Senator or their phone number? Click here and urge your Senator to immediately pass the bill to delay the levy cliff!

If you need a script: “Hello, I am your constituent from [name your city or town]. I need you to vote to bring HB 1059 to the floor and vote for the bill. We must delay the levy cliff so that teachers don’t get fired and students don’t lose important classes and programs they need to succeed. I know you have the power to save our schools from financial peril and I need you to lead on this.”

The bill to delay the levy cliff is an important part of fully funding our public schools. If this bill doesn’t pass, districts across the state will have to fire teachers and slash important programs for students. This is because school districts would lose part of their funds on January 1, 2018 — but the legislature does not have to deliver full funding for schools under the McCleary decision until September 1, 2018.

The levy cliff represents a big step backward in the state’s compliance with the constitution and the courts. Delaying the levy cliff for one more year allows our teachers to teach and our students to learn while the legislature finally passes the new revenue needed to fully fund public schools, as well as reducing districts’ reliance on levies to pay for basic education.

Call your Senator right now and urge them to immediately pass the bill to delay the levy cliff! Click here if you need to find your Senator or their phone number.

Below are some of the Senators who most urgently need to hear from the public. If even just one of them votes yes, the bill can pass and our schools will be saved from the levy cliff. If you or anyone you know lives in any of these legislative districts/areas, please ask them to call their Senator right now!

Hans Zeiger
25th LD: includes Puyallup, Fife
360 786-7648

John Braun
20th LD: includes Chehalis, Centralia, Castle Rock
360 786-7638

Joe Fain
47th LD: includes Auburn, Kent, Renton, Covington, Federal Way
360 786-7692

Ann Rivers
18th LD: includes Vancouver, Ridgefield, Camas, Battle Ground, Washougal, La Center, Hockinson
360 786-7634

Mark Miloscia
30th LD: includes Algona, Auburn, Des Moines, Federal Way, Milton, Pacific
360 786-7658

Jan Angel
26th LD: includes Bremerton, Port Orchard, Gig Harbor, Lakebay, Purdy
360 786-7650

Dino Rossi
45th LD: includes Redmond, Kirkland, Sammamish, Woodinville, Duvall
360 786-7672

Maureen Walsh
16th LD: includes Walla Walla, Prosser, Horse Heaven
360 786-7630

Mark Schoesler
9th LD: includes Ritzville, Pullman, Colfax, St. John, Asotin
360 786-7620

Phil Fortunato
31st LD: includes Enumclaw, Buckley, Bonney Lake, Auburn, Sumner, Edgewood, South Prairie, Wilkeson and Carbonado
360 786-7660

Brad Hawkins
12th LD: includes Wenatchee, East Wenatchee, Twisp, Winthrop, Leavenworth
360 786-7622

Randi Becker
2nd LD: includes Eatonville, Yelm, Orting, Graham, Roy, Rainier
360 786-7602 305

Lynda Wilson
17th LD: includes Brush Prairie, Orchards, Cascade Park East (Clark County)
360 786-7632

Curtis King
14th LD: includes Stevenson, White Salmon, Naches, Goldendale, Tieton, Roosevelt
360 786-7626

Barbara Bailey
10th LD: includes Stanwood, Camamo Island, Whidbey Island, Oak Harbor, La Connor
360 786-7618

Thank you for taking a minute to call and contacting your friend, colleague, or relative out in these critical districts.

Your fellow advocate,

Tali Rausch
Board President
Washington’s Paramount Duty

Jan 172017

From OSPI: New ESSA Resources Available in Top 8 Languages.

OSPI has translated five of our Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) flyers into the Top 8 languages spoken by Washington’s students. Those flyers address some of the biggest pieces of ESSA, including Title I: Federal Programs, Title II: Teacher & Principal Quality, Title III: English Learners, as well as Equity and 21st Century Community Learning Centers. These flyers were created to help readers understand the new federal education law—without first taking a course in legalese. They have been translated into Arabic, Korean, Russian, Spanish, Somali, Tagalog, Ukrainian, and Vietnamese. English-language flyers are available on the ESSA resource page.

Sep 292016

Help Washington State PTA Speak Up for Kids! Please take the 2016 Legislative Issues Survey here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/R8Z2HWG

Our vision is to make every child’s potential a reality. PTA works in classrooms and communities across the state, but we also advocate in Olympia for the well-being and education of all children. Every fall, the association selects its legislative priorities, and hearing from you is a valuable step in the process. Your responses will assist voting delegates who attend Legislative Assembly in Olympia October 21-22, 2016 in setting the 2016-17 legislative platform.

The survey closes on October 6th at 12:15 p.m. 
May 132015

It is difficult to navigate these three situations with accurate, reliable and useful information and understanding. Below are a few helpful hints, some information from the state PTA, and websites where you can find reliable information about what is happening in Olympia.

As a Council, in line with both Region 2 and the State PTA, we recommend refraining from taking a stand on Teacher Strikes, and not using official PTA communication channels to encourage or facilitate participation in the Teacher Strikes. Parents are always free to advocate in any way they choose on their own time.

PTA is an advocacy group but it is often difficult to tell what is best for the kids even when given all the pieces. What to remember about advocacy is; what you advocate as an individual person, i.e. a person might believe option 1 is the best way to go and advocate for that option. But … your PTA membership might believe as a group that option 2 is the best way to go for the kids/community. So what do you do?

Always make it very clear what hat you are wearing….. my individual belief is ……/The PTA at my school voted at a General membership meeting to support……….

If you are going to put out information about an issue or candidate, such as a budget presented in the Senate or supporting a Teacher Strike.

  • You need to make three things very clear

    • Where the information is coming from….if you did not vote as a membership to support an issue then both sides need to be presented.

    • If you take a vote (how to do this is below), then your information needs to state that a vote was taken to support this issue, here is more information on what the issue is and why we believe it’s best for kids.

    • If it is your personal belief, feel free to share it with people remembering to make it clear this is not a PTA endorsement, and don’t send your personal reviews with the PTA email distribution list.

Taking a Vote for an Official Stand

  • You will need to have a clear understanding of your LU bylaws.

  • Call for a Special meeting of the membership to vote on …………..

  • You will need to post this at least 10 days before the meeting is scheduled, check your bylaws for the exact number of days.

  • At the meeting you will need to confirm a quorum of members is present.

  • Present information for both sides

  • A motion will need to come from the floor to support the issue, discussion and then a vote.


Fully funding education, and everything that means by way of the State Supreme Court’s McCleary decision, is the number one platform priority issue for WA State PTA.  We have worked hard all year and for many years to achieve that aim.  

During the 2015 legislative session, PTA’s in the Issaquah School District have advocated on multiple fronts for fully funding education. Our advocacy has included:

  • Participation at Washington State PTA Focus Day in January, with a bus full of parents and students to advocate for more funding. 
  • Devoted council meeting time to filling out pre-printed postcards with personalized messages to legislators, and delivering those messages to legislators – all in support of fully funding education and McCleary.
  • Facilitating PTA events such as brown bag lunches, coffees and candidate forums – all with the aim of encouraging our parents to get involved in advocating for fully funding education.
  • Responding to numerous efforts by individual parents to advocate for


In sum, there is no question that Washington State PTA supports fully funding education nor is there any question that PTA stands beside our educators in support of all they do in our classrooms for our kids.  But the Washington State PTA general membership (including the teachers in our membership, who voted for the resolution both in 1986 and 2006) does not support teacher strikes because it disrupts children’s learning and puts undue hardship on families. (See Resolution below). Both groups agree on fully funding. We simply disagree that teacher strikes are an appropriate way to further that goal.

WA State PTSA Board Resolution at p 31 – http://www.wastatepta.org/advocacy/WSPTA_resolutions_board_positions_Feb_2015.pdf



May 132015

This document contains several opinions, interpretations, and thoughts on how to look at funding and the teacher strikes. It all basically says the same thing and gets to the same conclusion but different ways. I thought it might be useful to those who are struggling to decide how to approach funding and the teacher strikes. I authors are all, well respected PTA leaders around the state. Let us know if you have further questions, or need help deciding what they say.

** Here’s opinion #1 on this

“Teacher Walk Out Days are a very hot topic right now.  We do not know of the IEA’s plans re: any Issaquah School Walk Outs. Until that is something we need to contend with or not, we thought this is a good time to remind local PTA’s about the action and communication protocol for taking advocacy positions. Of course, as individual parents or citizens you can take whatever advocate position you like and use your personal communication however you like.  Yet, PTAs and PTA representatives have certain protocols to follow.

What is the issue we want to position?  Look to source of issue for this info.

Do your standing rules say anything about actions when taking a position? 

What is the Washington State PTA position on this? Contact President, VP or Secretary with your question

What is the Region/Council’s position on this?  Contact your Region or Council President or VP

Does the Board want to take a position? Or take a position that is different than the above?

Yes, present the facts only on the issue taken directly from the source of the issue you are  discussing; both pro & con sides; is there a motion? Have discussion on pro/con sides of taking a position; Call for vote; Board presents recommendation to General Membership for same process.

Do you want to skip Board vote and take this directly to General Membership?

Yes, present the facts only on the issue taken directly from the source of the issue you are discussing; present both pro & con sides; is there a motion? Have discussion on pro/con sides of taking a position; Call for vote;

If GM takes a neutral position, then you cannot use PTA communication channels or your PTA position to solicit support pro/con on the issue.

If GM takes a position, ONLY then CAN you use PTA communications and positons to solicit support pro/con on the issue as voted by the membership.

We are going to use a Teacher Walk Out vote as our example, but this could be followed for any position you PTA considers.

 Issaquah Council PTA 2.6 Communication regarding IEA Walk Out Action

Issaquah Council PTA currently has no position on the IEA Walk Out action.

Current Washington State PTA Resolution 18.6 supports united efforts with educators during “uninterrupted operation of public schools”.   (For full resolution text, see page 31 http://www.wastatePTA.org/advocacy/WSPTA_resolutions_board_positions_Feb_2015.pdf)

 As PTA representatives you need to follow certain protocols in regard to using PTA communication channels and in taking a position.

 Neutral Positions:

 As a PTA, you can remain neutral and take no official action or position on the IEA’s decision. Therefore, you would not use any PTA communication sources to solicit support for or against.

 As a PTA, you can simply state Washington State PTA supports uninterrupted operation of school when working with educators over the State fully funding education with the McCleary decision. Therefore, you would not use any PTA communication sources to solicit support for or against.

 Taking a Position:

 As a PTA, you can take the independent action of voting on a position, whether that position is neutral, for, or against. 

 If your local PTA decides to independently take a position, follow these steps…

 As a local PTA Board, make sure you are meeting the notice requirements if this is a special meeting.

Present the facts of the issue (in this case get the vote info from the IEA directly). Important to present the pro & con of each side of the issue and of taking a position.   

Is there a motion to take a positon?

Ask for and have a discussion?

            Call for the vote?

            Based on the vote results you can do the following:

                        If neutral, do not use PTA communication channels or your PTA position to comment on this issue;

If for supporting, or against, you can now take your for/against recommendation to your General Membership for the same steps.  After your GM votes, you can then use your PTA communication channels and positon according to the for (or) against vote outcome. 


As a General Membership,

Present the facts of the issue (in this case get the vote info from the IEA directly). Important to present the pro & con of each side of the issue and of taking a position.  

Is there a motion to take a positon?

Ask for and have a discussion?

            Call for the vote?

            Based on the vote results you can do the following:

                        If neutral, do not use PTA communication channels or your PTA position to comment on this issue;

If Gm votes for supporting, or against, you can NOW use your PTA communication channels and position to solicit according to the for (or) against vote outcome. 

Full text of Resolution on page 31 from the WSPTA link: http://www.wastatePTA.org/advocacy/WSPTA_resolutions_board_positions_Feb_2015.pdf


“UNINTERRUPTED OPERATION OF PUBLIC SCHOOLS 18.6, Resolution passed 1986; revised 20066

Whereas, the Washington State PTA has a purpose “To develop between educators and the general public such united efforts as will secure for all children and youth the highest advantages in physical, mental, social, spiritual education”, and

Whereas, Quality Education is a high priority issue for the Washington State PTA, and

Whereas, Washington State citizens have historically valued the reliable delivery of vital services and the orderly management of public institutions including fire and police services and public schools, and

Whereas, the Washington State PTA also holds that a disruption to the educational system in the form of work stoppages and strikes is detrimental to the best interests of the children and families affected by those actions, and

Whereas, the Washington State PTA believes that a disruption to the educational system in the form of work stoppages and/or strikes is often detrimental to the best interest of the children and families affected by those actions. While acknowledging that more state resources must be committed to the educational process in the State of Washington, including higher salaries for educational employees.

Therefore, be it Resolved, that the Washington State PTA shall work to produce conditions with regard to the collective bargaining process which will consistently produce, in a timely manner, labor agreements negotiated and fully embraced by the direct parties thereto and which will not cause disruption to the school calendar; and be it further

Resolved, that the Washington State PTA will not support work stoppages and/or strikes which interrupt or disrupt the educational day.”


Opinion #2 –

So our experience with this issue was that there was a lot of confusion at the local unit level about what they can and should do about communicating information about the strike and especially encouraging parent participation in it.

And that confusion caused frustration.

We found teacher union leadership either didn’t know or didn’t understand our policies regarding use of PTA communications to support issues – whether it’s a bond/levy, a ballot initiative, or, in this instance, the teacher strike

OF course, any teacher and any parent are free to support, oppose or stay neutral about the strike.

And of course, PTA communications can be used to support advocacy around McCleary and fully funding b/c that’s part of our platform

But before PTA communication channels can be used to support or encourage participation in the strike, these things need to happen in accordance w/ a local units bylaws/standing rules

1.    Teacher Strike is presented to the board w/ pro/con (that would include option to support, oppose, stay neutral or support w/ conditions)

2.    then presented to general membership w/ pro & con views (same as above)

That’s always been the case and the strike doesn’t change that.

Our experience was that our local unit presidents weren’t fully aware of how this works, and then they were confused when teacher union leaders to them that they should be able to use PTA communications and emails to convey messages of support for the strike. And that’s not the case – PTA communications are not accessible to teachers simply b/c there is a “T” in PTA (which was the reason we were given by the union president here in Lake Wash).

It’s very tricky b/c of course we support teachers and funding, but if a school wants to support a teacher strike then they need to follow the rules just like they would for any issue.


Opinion #3 – Example

Strike Information for Northshore PTA
The Northshore teachers’ union, Northshore Education Association (NSEA) voted earlier today to participate in a one day strike on Wednesday, May 6th. On the day of the strike, there will be no school and the last day of school has moved to Thursday, June 18th. Please refer to the district announcement regarding details about testing, fields trips, after school activities and athletics. 

Washington State PTA resolution
Washington State PTA
Resolution 18.6 states that the Washington State PTA “will not support work stoppages and/or strikes which interrupt or disrupt the educational day.” As a PTA representative, it is important to make clear when you are speaking on behalf of PTA versus as a parent so there is no confusion. 

Communication in your Local Unit
PTA plays a pivotal role in informing our membership and beyond about the education, health and safety of all students. Here are a few things to think about when crafting your communication:
Your communications are going to Parent, Teachers, School Administration, and Students

Positive and respecting all parties positions you/PTA to be a trusted partner

Determine if your communications should directly state the LU’s voter approved position on the strike so there is no confusion

Provide contact information to legislators and ask them to contact them directly on the strikes and/or funding McCleary

To Take action or not?

Each Local Unit can vote to remain neutral, support or not support the strike. Refer to the standing rules for your local unit to determine how best to proceed in calling a special meeting; if needed, the notification period and how to take a position on an issue.

Local Resources

Northshore Council are here to support you. Please contact Council Legislative VP, Carrie McKenzie if you require clarification, assistance or unsure how to appropriately address a specific situation. 


Opinion #4

This is just from my perspective.  As a council, our mission is to support district kids and to provide guidance to our local PTAs. In this case, it is helping our local PTAs make informed, responsible decisions that help their community through a potentially divisive, emotional situation.   To me that means giving them the information about the WSPTA resolution and making them aware of information from PTA and the law that clearly defines what a PTA should and shouldn’t do with regard to their official communication channels (here it is by the way)




PTA is prohibited from using its mailing lists for any purpose other than PTA purposes. The lists may not be used for any commercial or political purpose – even by a member. **This is really the key right here.  If you haven’t voted on it, then it isn’t a PTA purpose and it is definitely a political purpose.

On the other hand, I do think it is important to remind them of their own organization’s advocacy voice and to provide them the process by which if they wanted to, the PTA could vote to support the strike and consequently communicate that information on behalf of their PTA’s pro strike position.  Also, reminding them that on an individual basis, what parents choose to do is up to them. They can relate information on their private social media platforms and emails, just not using the PTA mailing list.

 I would suggest (and others can chime in on this if they disagree) that you let the president of your MIEA know what your situation is. That WSPTA has a resolution that doesn’t support strikes, that according to your policy, you can’t use your official communications to support the strike or advertise on behalf of another organization.  That this official position in no way speaks to your continued support of the teachers in your district and to the MIEA as an organization. 

 That all being said, in answer to your question about telling parents to contact MIEA—you just have to decide how much information is helpful “relevant resource” verses what could be construed as implied endorsement of a political action.  I believe in our missive we did let people know that they can contact the LWEA with questions.  There will probably also be a page on your district website with information about it and you could refer families to that as well.  I think that if you are very intentional with your approach, you should do what you think is best for MI Council and local PTAs and ultimately, for the kids in your district. (queue Star Spangled Banner)