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Government Relations

Government Relations in Seattle Public Schools is focused on promoting student learning by ensuring students, families, staff members and schools have the resources and services they need to effectively educate every child.

Ongoing Activity in Seattle Public Schools

  • Developing an annual legislative agenda for Seattle Public Schools
  • Communicating with local, state and federal officials about the district’s initiatives and legislative goals

State Legislative Priorities

Seattle has four priorities for the 2022 session:

  • Stable and Equitable Funding and Operations
  • Supporting Student Well-Being
  • Supporting Student Learning
  • Capital and Facilities Requests

2022 Proposed Legislative Priorities

1. Stable and Equitable Funding and Operations
In the wake of school closures and the COVID-19 pandemic, resources are needed to ensure stability for students and families through reliable transportation for students, stabilization of funding and staffing to minimize disruption to school communities, and reimbursement of costs related to health so that funds can be spent on supporting student learning and well-being.

  • Maintain stable support for enrollment and local levy authority funding that has seen a reduction due to the pandemic.
  • Reimburse for public health related costs like contact tracing and COVID screen testing, which are beyond what was originally anticipated at the beginning of the pandemic.
  • Revise the student transportation funding statute to fully cover the actual costs of student transportation. Under the current Pupil Transportation funding model (STARS), many districts experience significant funding gaps. Specifically, we need to revise the state transportation funding formula to account for the actual cost of routes and allow additional types of vehicles to qualify for funding to provide more flexibility and stabilize operations.

2. Supporting Student Well-Being
As we transition back to in-person learning, we want to ensure we are building better systems that are culturally responsive, provide trauma-informed supports to address the short- and long-term impacts of COVID, undo structural racism, and create school communities that foster authentic relationships with students and families.

  • Invest in culturally responsive services and supports in mental health, social emotional learning, and healthcare, including nurses, to provide necessary care to students and educators, support COVID response protocols, and provide trauma-informed support as we reconnect and learn in person.
  • Invest in restorative justice practices for students, particularly Black and Native American students and their families, by providing resources to change school culture, repair harm caused by the impacts of disproportionate discipline and structural racism, and transform student to student and staff to student relationships.
  • Invest in family engagement staff and supports, including interpretation and translation services, that honor family and student language, culture, and lived experience to enable families to engage in their students’ learning, access information, and be connected with basic needs supports

3. Supporting Student Learning
We are focusing on the heart of what we do as a school system: providing excellence in education for every student through high-quality teaching and learning experiences, and preparing Seattle Public School students for college, career, and community. To do this, we need the resources to ensure access to learning and learning supports and to provide culturally responsive instruction for students.

  • Fully fund special education services at the state level and invest in inclusionary practices so that districts do not need to rely on local levies to provide the mandated, basic education support of our students.
  • Ensure resources for individualized needs of all students—particularly Black and Native American students—including access to mentoring and tutoring programs, and curriculum that supports best practice, is culturally responsive, and is representative of diverse student backgrounds and history, including Black Studies and American Indian Studies.
  • Invest in the development and implementation of ethnic studies in districts, in alignment with the Washington State Ethnic Studies Framework and Essential Academic Learning Standards.

Capital and Facilities Requests

  • Allow the purchase of electric vehicles with capital funding to address climate change and reduce carbon footprint
  • Seek capital funding to provide accessible, high-quality learning environments.
  • Revise RCW 28A.320.330 to include curriculum as an allowable expenditure of local capital funds.
  • Continue to allow all maintenance costs to be an eligible use of local capital funds.

The District’s Role

The district is actively lobbying our legislature to fully fund education. However, we are legally prohibited from encouraging the public to lobby on our behalf .

School Board members and SPS staff serve as advocates for Seattle Public Schools at the local, state and federal level. Part of the group’s work is to speak on behalf of all children and youth before governmental bodies and other organizations. 

In order to comply with state and federal rules, School Board and staff work with members of both political parties in order to enact change. When Seattle School Board members or district staff participate in legislative activities that educate lawmakers about officially adopted School Board positions or support a particular piece of legislation that is in agreement with the adopted legislative program, it is done on a strictly non-partisan basis.

Resources

We encourage interested students, parents, staff and community members to learn about the issues facing public education in Washington state. This webpage provides important information and links regarding the legislative work in Olympia as well as our county and city. It is important for our school system and society to have an informed and engaged citizenry.

Who represents you?

Find which congressional and legislative districts you live in and information about your local legislators at the Washington State Legislature’s District Lookup

Federal

Washington’s U.S. Congressional Delegation

Legislative information from the Library of Congress

U.S. Department of Education

State

City

Local advocacy groups