House approves two more education reform bills sponsored by MacEwen

Following on the passage of his bill last week to delink standardized tests from high school graduation requirements, the state House has approved two more education reform bills sponsored by Rep. Drew MacEwen, R-Union.

House Bill 2040 would provide financial relief to non-high school districts by changing the calculation of how much they're required to reimburse neighboring high school districts for educating their students.

In order to reimburse high school districts for educating transferred students, non-high school districts can raise funds locally through enrichment levies. However, since current law requires them to pay the per-pupil levy rate of the high school district, they may not be able to collect enough revenue to make the full payment. As a result, non-high school districts could be forced to tap into other resources.

House Bill 2040 would change the law to stipulate that non-high school districts are only required to pay whichever per-pupil levy rate is lower between the two districts.

“This bill would help balance out some of the inequity that exists between the two divisions of school districts in Washington state,” said MacEwen. “Providing this financial relief for our non-high school districts would result in more funds staying in the district for local educational needs. That would be a big win for students and families across the state, especially in our more rural areas.”

House Bill 2040, which received unanimous support, is now in the Senate Early Learning and K-12 Education Committee.

The other bill of MacEwen's that received approval is House Bill 1304, which would establish the Vocational Alternative Learning Experience Pilot Program. The intent of the program is to show the value of providing state funding for the expansion of career and technical education instruction in alternative learning experience courses.

As many as 10 school districts would be chosen by the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) to participate in the pilot program, including two that have multidistrict online school programs. Each district would participate for four complete school years, starting in the 2019-20 school year.

By Jan. 1, 2025, OSPI would be required to submit a report on the following:

  • the number of students participating in the pilot program that received the vocational program funding enhancement;
  • the impact of the program to career and technical education programming;
  • the fiscal impact of the program;
  • recommendations for statewide implementation; and
  • any other information deemed relevant by the OSPI.

“Anything we can do to promote career and technical education is a good thing,” said MacEwen. “I'm confident this pilot program will give us the relevant information we need to secure the necessary funding for students who may choose to pursue a non-traditional educational path.”

House Bill 1304 was approved 92-4, and now heads to the Senate for further consideration.


Washington State House Republican Communications