• AWSP News for February 20, 2019

    by David Morrill | Feb 20, 2019


    In this episode of AWSP News, we discuss:

    • Future Educators Month, our Future School Leaders Day workshop, and the Give ’Em Your Keys campaign;
    • what’s happening in the Legislature;
    • some of our recent blog posts;
    • our opening for an Associate Director and the retirement of two icons;
    • sharing your stories with us; and
    • how we’re always here to pick up the phone when you need us.

    Prefer to read the news? Check out the script.

  • Retirement & Health Benefit Report for Feb. 15, 2019

    by David Morrill | Feb 15, 2019

    retirement-health_072315


    A frozen river is not a dry one, it’s just a still river on the surface but is still moving. ~Willie Nelson

     

    Snowmageddon descended on Olympia, and things came to a halt, but now that the worst (we can hope) is over, the process is moving again. Agendas have been lengthened. As cut off dates approach the list of bills for executive action by individual committees grows long.

    This is a brief summary of bills that are either moving or should be pushed to move. The last section of this report has some suggested actions on bills that need support and advocacy in order to advance before cutoffs.

    Retirement Related Proposals

    SB 5400/HB 1390 would provide a 3% cost of living adjustment (COLA) to TRS1 and PERS1 members. These bills are Select Committee for Pension Policy (SCPP) agency request legislation. HB 1390 has been scheduled for a public hearing before the House Appropriations Committee on February 18th at 3:30 PM.

    SB 5360/HB 1308 Revise provisions in the public employees’ retirement system, the teachers’ retirement system, and the school employees’ retirement system with regard to plan membership default. It would change the present retirement plan default for new hires from Plan 3 to Plan 2.

    SB 5360 was voted out of the Senate Ways and Means Committee and has been moved to Rules committee awaiting action.

    HB 1308 was voted out of committee and sent to Houses Rules awaiting action.

    Substitute Options for Early Retirees

    SHB 1139 | Sections 305–7 state that educators that are members of Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS) Plans 2 or 3 that retired under the 2008 Early Retirement Factors are permitted to return to work before age 65 in any non-administrative position, not just in substitute teaching and instructional positions, and work for up to 867 hours per year without suspension of pension benefits. The ending date on the current provisions of August 1, 2020, as well as the separate section expiring the section of law, are removed, making the section effective indefinitely.A provision similar to the TRS provision is created for School Employees’ Retirement System, which is for classified school employees. It also removes the August 1, 2020 sunset date and the directive regarding substitute pay. It passed out of committee on an 18–1 vote and has moved to Appropriations.

    SB 5430/HB 1388 Allow retirees who retired under alternate early retirement factors enacted in chapter 491, Laws of 2007, to use post-retirement options prior to reaching age sixty-five. This is SCPP agency request legislation. It is similar to the above referenced bill but broader in that administrators are not excluded, bus drivers, para-pros, OT’s etc. are included. It also includes PERS retirees who have retired from positions with cities and counties for example. Smaller cities/counties need the expertise of their retirees for short durations. They testified in support of this change. Both bills are still awaiting hearings before their respective fiscal committees.

    SUGGESTED ACTION:

    Please contact Senator Rolfes, chair of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, to request a hearing on SB 5430. Office: 360–786–7644

    Please contact Timm Ormsby, chair of the House Appropriations Committee, to request a hearing on HB 1388. Office: 360–786–7946

    Certainly, contact your own legislators as well and urge movement on these bills.

    These proposals are much broader than either of the other proposals. (SB 5801 below; SHB 1139 above) and would allow districts the greatest flexibility over time with no need to add other exceptions as they arise.

    SB 5801 | This bill is a modified/slimmer version of SB 5430/HB 1388 mentioned above. It reads: “ (a) The retired teacher reenters employment more than one calendar month after his or her accrual date and after June 9, 2016; (2) The retired teacher is employed exclusively as either (i) A substitute teacher as defined in RCW 41.32.010(48)(a) in an instructional capacity, as opposed to other capacities identified in RCW 41.32.010(49); (ii) An athletic coach,(iii) A mentor to teachers or an adviser to students in teacher1 preparation programs; or (iv) A counselor; and(c) The employing school district compensates the district’s substitute teachers at a rate that is at least eighty-five percent of the full daily amount allocated by the state to the district for substitute teacher compensation. (2) For the purposes of this section, “mentor” means an educator who has achieved appropriate training in assisting, coaching, and advising beginning teachers or student teaching residents as defined by the office of the superintendent of public instruction, such as national board certification or other specialized training.(3) This section expires July 1, 2023 It has been scheduled for a public hearing before the Senate Ways and Means Committee on February 20th at 3:30.

    SUGGESTED ACTION:

    Senator Wellman, chair of the Senate Education Committee needs to be encouraged to focus on SB 5430 as it is broader and offers more flexibility to districts particularly in allowing use of classified retirees. The SCPP reviewed and approved this proposal. Office: 360–786–7641

    SB 5350/HB 1413 Authorizes the following, at the time of retirement, to purchase an optional actuarially equivalent life annuity benefit from: 1. The public employees’ retirement system plan 1 fund; 2. The public employees’ retirement system combined plan 2 and plan 3 fund; 3. The public safety employees’ retirement system plan 2 fund; or 4. The school employees’ retirement system combined plan 2 and 3 fund, as appropriate.

    This bill was agency request legislation from the SCPP. SB 5350 was voted out of committee and sent to Senate Rules for further action. HB 1413 was voted out of committee and sent to Rules.

    School Employee Benefit Board (SEEB) Health Related Proposals

    SUGGESTED ACTION:

    School districts need to continue contacting their legislators to educate them and express any concerns over the impending costs of SEBB. It has become clear that legislators are expressing discomfort, (some might say ‘shock’) with the $900+million-dollar cost of implementing the program and collective bargaining agreement. T.J. Kelly from OSPI released estimates that the local levy burden to districts for SEBB assuming the legislature accepts the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) would be $258 million per school year. If the benefit multipliers agreed to in the CBA were disallowed, the cost to districts would be $742 million/year.

    Caution: It is important to underscore that districts are not against the principle of providing affordable health insurance. It’s the right thing to do.The unions have done a very effective campaign, resonant with many legislators, about the need to provide affordable health insurance. Complaining about SEBB runs the risk of seeming cold-hearted and callous to the issue. But the message is simple:It’s a question of cost; How much? Who pays? How does a district pay?

    Health Care

    SB 5469/HB 1085 Concerns reducing the insurance premium for Medicare-eligible retiree participants in the public employees’ benefits board program. It requires the amount of a premium reduction for Medicare eligible retiree participants to be no less than fifty percent of the premium cost.

    HB 1085 held a public hearing 1/28 at 3:30 before the House Appropriations Committee and is awaiting further action by the committee.

    HB 1813 incorporates the costs of employee health benefits into school district contracts for pupil transportation.A portion of the bill reads : “Beginning January 1, 2020, any pupil transportation services contract must include: (i) Sufficient funds specifically for the contracting employer to provide the employees of the contractor with an employer health benefits contribution equal to the rate for the school employees’ benefits board program, less the retiree remittance for the public employees’ benefits board; and (ii) An amount equivalent to the total employer and employee contribution rate to the school employees’ retirement system, multiplied by the estimated salaries of the employees of the contractor.

    This bill has a public hearing before the House Appropriations Committee on February 14th. WASA testified as “Other”. It expressed sympathy for the need but concerns over who pays and how to pay for it. This would be another unfunded mandate added to the upcoming fiscal burden of SEBB.

    Other Bills That May Have Fiscal/HR Impacts For Districts

    SB 5473/HB 1445 makes unemployment benefits accessible to persons with family responsibilities and other availability issues and making clarifying changes. Among other things, it revises the employment security act to: (1) Provide unemployment benefits (UI) to people with family responsibilities and other availability issues. Districts will have new claimants for UI which a district could not contest.

    SB 5743 had a public hearing on February 14th and is awaiting further action by the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee.

    HB 1445 was voted out of committee and sent to Appropriations for a public hearing on February 21st at 3:30 PM.

    SSB 5449/HB 1399 makes technical corrections requested by the Employment Security Department in the Family and Medical Leave Act passed last session.

    SSB 5449 (a substitute bill) has been voted out of committee and sent to Rules.

    SHB 1399 Executive Session action has been scheduled for February 18th before the House Appropriations Committee.

    SB 5513/HB 1515 Concerns the employer-employee relationship by clarifying the difference between an independent contractor and an employee. WASBO has been asked to review this proposal for any unintended impacts to districts.

    HB 1515 has been scheduled for Executive Sessions for February 21st.

    SUGGESTED ACTIONS ON SELECTED BILLS:

    SB 5178/HB 1132 Concerns early retirement options for members of the teachers’ retirement system and school employees’ retirement system plans 2 and 3. It proposes changing the current option for early retirement at 62 years of age with no penalty to 60 years of age. Both bills are still awaiting public hearings before their fiscal committees. If this is important to advance as a tool to help districts retain employees and even allow some of those more expensive ones an option to retire earlier, then contact Chairs Senator Rolfes and Ormsby whose contact info was given above. (See SB 5430) and request a hearing.

    SB 5414/HB 1409 Prohibits a contract year for employee benefits from exceeding two hundred sixty days, for K–12 employees. Currently, upon retirement, an individual can cash in his/her accumulated sick leave at a 1:4 ratio using a maximum of 180 days. This change would increase the maximum to 260 days reflecting the longer contract years many school employees, especially administrators work.

    Both bills are awaiting scheduling for a public hearing in Appropriations (House) or Ways and Means (Senate) committees.

    This could be important if a person would like to cash in more than the current 180-day maximum leave accrual to place into a health VEBA account. Many school personnel work more than a 180-day contact and this proposal would set the cap at the contracted day amount rather than the current 180-day limit. Contact Chairs Rolfes and Ormsby and request a hearing.

    The legislative river continues to flow…In fact, I can hear water running outside my office…

    Fred Yancey/ Mike Moran
    The Nexus Group

  • The Gospel of Ed Reform and the Power of the Principal

    by David Morrill | Feb 14, 2019

    Rahm Emanuel photo

    Ed reform. Those two words are a lightning rod for people in education and policy. They can strike fear and uncertainty for some and hope and visions of equity for others. One thing is for certain, many of the reforms borne out of the Race to the Top grant era have drastically changed the reality of what it’s like to be a school principal.

    At AWSP, we know the work you do, the care you give, and how much of yourself you give up to do the job. You know who else understands the pivotal role principals play? Rahm Emanuel, 44th mayor of Chicago, former chief of staff to President Obama, and former chairman of the Democratic Campaign Committee and the House Democratic Caucus. He wrote a great piece for The Atlantic titled, "I Used to Preach the Gospel of Education Reform. Then I Became the Mayor.

    In the article, he talks about putting education reform at the top of his priorities during his 2011 mayoral campaign, and the lessons he learned along the way. After discussing how negotiations went with the union president, he talked about one of the last things left to settle.

    One key issue remained: the autonomy of principals. The question was whether individual principals would have the ability to hire faculty of their own choosing, or whether, as Lewis preferred, principals would have to select from a limited pool maintained downtown with the union’s strong input. Honestly, because I’d gotten everything I really wanted, I was tempted to fold. The reform gospel doesn’t pay much mind to principals. Moreover, the new accountability standards promised to rid the schools of bad teachers.

    But while I was preparing to brief reporters assembled at Tarkington Elementary on Chicago’s South Side, Mahalia Ann Hines, a former school principal (who happens to be the artist Common’s mother) pulled me aside. Hines, who holds a doctorate from the University of Illinois, had spent 15 years as a principal, at grade levels from elementary through high school. If we were going to make lasting improvements to Chicago’s schools, she argued, principals needed that flexibility. Without it, they would not be able to establish the right culture or create a team atmosphere. And, at least as important, principals would not have the leverage to coach teachers struggling to help their pupils succeed.

    Emanuel talks more about abandoning the gospel of teacher-focused reform and instead focusing on empowering principals, something he described as a “momentous decision.” After that, he drops one more gem.

    Parents are rarely surprised when I note that even the best teachers can be rendered ineffective in a dysfunctional school, or that a great principal can turn a good teacher into an extraordinary educator. But even today, reformers rarely take the impact of principals into account.

    The rest of the article talks about what they’ve done in Chicago to attract, retain, and train quality principals. Emanuel talks about the implications and the gains they've made. The whole article is worth a read. Emanuel goes on to say something we’ve been preaching for a while, especially if you’ve seen our Power of the Principal video….

    Principals, not just teachers, drive educational gains.

    It’s great to see more and more people, inside education and out, understanding the pivotal role principals play.

  • AWSP Is Closed For Snow

    by David Morrill | Feb 11, 2019

    snow closure sign

    AWSP is closed for snow today (February 11), as are many districts across the state. FYI, we typically follow the Olympia School District for closures or late starts. Some of us are still checking email. In the event of a professional emergency, you can call Dr. Scott Seaman at 360.561.9463. You can also send an email to webmaster@awsp.org and someone should get back to you within a couple hours.

    In the meantime, check out this great snow day video from Pioneer Elementary's Principal Mac...and then maybe take his advice and go read a good book.

  • Retirement & Health Benefit Report for Feb. 8, 2019

    by David Morrill | Feb 08, 2019

    We have an unknown distance yet to run, an unknown river to explore.
    What falls there are, we know not; what rocks beset the channel,
    we know not; what walls ride over the river, we know not.
    Ah, well! we may conjecture many things." - John Wesley Powell

    The session is still flowing toward cut off dates, when an observer can then more closely focus on what would appear to be potential ‘rocks’. Also, energies can be directed more specifically to advance critical bills that have survived the first cut. As a reminder, the cut off dates are: February 22 for policy bills and March 1 for fiscal bills.

    So many of these issues concern money. They will not really come into a sense of finality until nearer the end of session. SEBB is an example, where the only option for significant change in the model would be if the Legislature rejected the collective bargaining agreement, which they may, and the key word is ‘may’ do after seeing the upcoming revenue forecasts. This is why we are just going with the flow and watching for obstacles. This is a brief summary of only those bills that had some movement status.

    Retirement Related Proposals

    SB 5400/HB 1390 would provide a 3% cost of living adjustment (COLA) to TRS1 and PERS1 members. These bills are Select Committee for Pension Policy (SCPP) agency request legislation. Both bills are still awaiting scheduling before their respective fiscal committees.

    SB 5360/HB 1308 Revise provisions in the public employees’ retirement system, the teachers’ retirement system, and the school employees’ retirement system with regard to plan membership default. It would change the present retirement plan default for new hires from Plan 3 to Plan 2.

    SB 5360 was voted out of the Senate Ways and Means Committee and has been moved to Rules committee awaiting action.

    HB 1308 was scheduled and expected to be voted out of the House Appropriations Committee on February 7th meeting, but the hearing ran late, and Executive Session was postponed. This will be rescheduled.

    Substitute Options for early Retirees

    HB 1139 is a large bill relating to expanding the current and future educator workforce supply. A previous version of the bill passed the House last session but got no action in the Senate. This bill, by Representative Santos, is basically a re-introduction of the previous bill. Sections 304/305 state that educators that are members of Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS) Plans 2 or 3 that retired under the 2008 Early Retirement Factors are permitted to return to work before age 65 in any non-administrative position, not just in substitute teaching and instructional positions, and work for up to 867 hours per year without suspension of pension benefits. The ending date on the current provisions of August 1, 2020, as well as the separate section expiring the section of law, are removed, making the section effective indefinitely. A provision similar to the TRS provision is created for School Employees’ Retirement System, which is for classified school employees. It also removes the August 1, 2020 sunset date and the directive regarding substitute pay. It passed out of committee on an 18/1 vote and has moved to Rules.

    SB 5350/HB 1413 Authorizes the following, at the time of retirement, to purchase an optional actuarially equivalent life annuity benefit from:

    1. The public employees’ retirement system plan 1 fund;
    2. The public employees’ retirement system combined plan 2 and plan 3 fund;
    3. The public safety employees’ retirement system plan 2 fund; or
    4. The school employees’ retirement system combined plan 2 and 3 fund, as appropriate. This bill was agency request legislation from the SCPP. SB 5350 was voted out of committee and sent to Senate Rules for further action. HB 1413 is scheduled for executive action on February 11.

    School Employee Benefit Board (SEEB)Health Related Proposals

    School districts need to continue contacting their legislators to educate them and express any concerns over the impending costs of SEBB. It has become clear that legislators are expressing discomfort, (some might say ‘shock’) with the $900+million-dollar cost of implementing the program and collective bargaining agreement. But they are not yet talking about the unfunded costs expected to be borne by districts.

    HB 1955 was just introduced by Rep. Stokesbary. (Ranking Minority Leader on Appropriations). This bill appears to reduce district costs from 85% to 80%, which seems in my humble opinion ho-hum and misses the bigger picture.

    Health Care

    SB 5469/HB 1085 Concerns reducing the insurance premium for Medicare-eligible retiree participants in the public employees’ benefits board program. It requires the amount of a premium reduction for Medicare eligible retiree participants to be no less than fifty percent of the premium cost.

    HB 1085 held a public hearing 1/28 at 3:30 before the House Appropriations Committee and is awaiting further action by the committee.

    HB 1813 incorporates the costs of employee health benefits into school district contracts for pupil transportation. A portion of the bill reads : “Beginning January 1, 2020, any pupil transportation services contract must include:(i) Sufficient funds specifically for the contracting employer to provide the employees of the contractor with an employer health benefits contribution equal to the rate for the school employees’ benefits board program, less the retiree remittance for the public employees’ benefits board; and (ii) An amount equivalent to the total employer and employee contribution rate to the school employees’ retirement system, multiplied by the estimated salaries of the employees of the contractor. This bill has a public hearing before the House Appropriations Committee on February 14th.

    Other Bills That May Have Fiscal/Hr Impacts For Districts

    SB 5473/HB 1445 makes unemployment benefits accessible to persons with family responsibilities and other availability issues and making clarifying changes. Among other things, it revises the employment security act to: (1) Provide unemployment benefits (UI) to people with family responsibilities and other availability issues. Districts will have new claimants for UI which a district could not contest.

    SB 5743 is scheduled for a public hearing on February 14th before the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee.

    HB 1445 was voted out of committee and sent to Appropriations.

    SSB 5449/HB 1399 makes technical corrections requested by the Employment Security Department in the Family and Medical Leave Act passed last session.

    SSB 5449 (a substitute bill) has been voted out of committee and sent to Rules.

    SHB 1399 (Substitute bill) A public hearing before the House Appropriations Committee is scheduled for Feb. 14th.

    The legislative river continues to flow…

    Fred Yancey/Mike Moran
    The Nexus Group

  • What's the SEBB?

    by David Morrill | Feb 08, 2019
    Health Care Authority's SEBB logo

    Last session, the Legislature created the School Employees Benefits Board (SEBB). The SEBB will help ensure K-12 employees get the affordable, high-quality benefits they deserve. Washington state public employees have long been the beneficiary of a great health benefits program through the PEBB, and it's great to see similar benefits coming to school employees across the state. 

    Keep an eye on our Legislative Update newsletter to see what happens with the SEBB through this session. In the meantime, here are some great resources from the Washington State Health Care Authority. 

  • AWSP News for February 6, 2019

    by David Morrill | Feb 06, 2019


    Welcome to another episode of AWSP News, where we discuss:

    • delivering AWSP News to you through rain, sleet, or snow,
    • African American History Month,
    • our Future Educators Month and Future School Leaders Day workshop,
    • revisit the Give ’Em Your Keys campaign,
    • update you on what’s happening with the Legislature,
    • discuss our “Day on the Hill” and your advocacy,
    • thank partners Capturing Kids’ Hearts and Freshgrade,
    • remind you to register for summer conference and a couple awards to nominate someone for,
    • Ron’s departure and hiring his replacement, and
    • some contract negotiation resources for you on our website.

    Prefer to read the news? Check out the script.

  • AWSP TV - Ep 5 - Scholastic Experts on Literacy

    by David Morrill | Feb 05, 2019

    Dr. Karen Burke (Vice President of Data and Academic Planning) and Pam Allyn (Senior Vice President, Innovation and Development), both from Scholastic, drop by our studio to talk about K-12 literacy and what principals can do to promote schoolwide literacy efforts. Lots of great advice and takeaways in this episode.

    More About Dr. Burke

    Dr. Karen Burke, Vice President of Data Analysis and Academic Planning at Scholastic, has been in education for over 30 years and has served students in various capacities including: ten years as a classroom teacher, Principal, Title I Director, Federal Programs Coordinator, Curriculum Director, Director of English/Language Arts, and an Assistant Superintendent of Schools in Maine. Additionally, she served as a Distinguished Educator for the Maine State Department of Education. She taughtundergraduate and graduate courses at Saint Joseph’s College in Maine for 23 years. Currently, she is an adjunct professor at Nova Southeastern University in Florida working with graduate and doctoral students.

    Dr. Burke received her degree in Elementary Education and Teacher of Spanish from The College of New Jersey, her two masters from the University of Southern Maine (one with a concentration in reading and the other with a concentration in mathematics), her Certificate of Advanced Study for Administration from The University of Maine in Orono, and her doctorate from Nova Southeastern University.

    She was the recipient of the Maine ASCD Educational Leader of the Year Award, Maine’s LiteracyAward, and Nova Southeastern-Noreen Webber Child and Youth Studies Honor Award.

    Dr. Burke assists district leadership in understanding and using data to create district specific comprehensive literacy plans that seamlessly weave pedagogy, programs, and professional learning to positively impact student learning. She promotes literacy plans that meet the needs of the whole child assuring all learners receive an equal opportunity to learn. Comprehensive literacy plans must also include a process that routinely informs instruction and monitors student growth. Effective comprehensive literacy plans provide a continuum of learning focusing on building strong literacy skills and capacities to meet the rigorous requirements for college, career, and life.

    More About Pam Allyn

    Pam Allyn is a world- renowned literacy expert, author and motivational speaker. She is the Executive Director and Founder of LitWorld, a groundbreaking global literacy movement serving children across the United States and in more than 60 countries, and LitLife, a cutting-edge education consulting group specializing in professional development for PreK-12 literacy instruction.

    In May 2007, The Children’s Village presented Pam with its Legacy of Service Award for bringing books and reading to children. She was selected as a mentor for the 2013 Bush Institute’s Women’s Initiative Fellowship to help young Egyptian women develop leadership skills. Pam received the 2013 Scholastic Literacy Champion Award, and is Scholastic’s Open a World of Possible Ambassador. She is a spokesperson for BIC Kids, championing BIC’s “Fight For Your Write” campaign. In April 2014, Pam was chosen as a W.K. Kellogg Foundation Fellow in Racial Equity and Healing, a three year initiative to support recognized equity leaders in their work on the ground.

    In April 2014, Pam was chosen as a W.K. Kellogg Foundation Fellow in Racial Equity and Healing, a three year initiative to support recognized equity leaders in their work on the ground. She was recognized as a finalist for the 2017 Brock International Prize in Education.

    Pam is the author of 26 books for educators, leaders and families on reading, writing and quality learning. Her most recent book is Every Child a Super Reader (Scholastic, 2015), co-authored with Dr. Ernest Morrell. Other books include Your Child’s Writing Life (Avery, 2011), What To Read When(Avery, 2009), and Pam Allyn’s Best Books for Boys (Scholastic, 2011). She has written and contributed to a number of curriculum and instruction books, including the Core Ready series (Pearson, 2013), the Complete Year series (Scholastic, 2008) and Homework Pages for Independent Reading (Scholastic, 2013).

    Pam is featured widely in traditional press and on social media as a literacy expert for both home and school. She has been featured on Good Morning America, The Today Show, NBC News, Oprah Radio, The Huffington Post, CNN International, Al Jazeera and in The New York Times, speaking to the power of education and literacy to transform lives and to create gender and racial equity.

  • 2019 Advocacy "Day on the Hill"

    by David Morrill | Feb 05, 2019

    What happens when 40+ scarf-wearing principals visit the Capitol? Great stories, great data, and great impact. On Monday, January 28, our AWSP Advocacy Committee and members of our AWSP Board took to the Capitol to advocate for principals, the principalship, and each and every student. Watch the video to learn a little more. 
  • The Natural Play Yard

    by Marty Fortin | Feb 05, 2019

    Having lots of playground equipment seems desirable, but this article suggest investing in some natural areas.

    Recess in an outdoor natural environment is more restorative than recess in an outdoor built environment. Cognitive assessment results demonstrated better sustained and selective attention and children reported greater restorativeness in an outdoor natural environment than in an indoor built environment. This finding applied to both group playtime and individual free play." | Amicone et al. 2018. Green breaks: The restorative effect of the school environment's green areas on children's cognitive performance.
  • Now Hiring Another Associate Director

    by David Morrill | Feb 04, 2019

    hiring image

    About the Position

    The Association of Washington School Principals (AWSP) is seeking candidates for the position of Associate Director. The chosen candidate will work with the AWSP Executive Director and AWSP Board in fulfilling board policy and direction. This full-time position (230 days) will join the AWSP Executive Team in the support of K-12 principals and assistant principals, the principalship, and all students throughout the state. 

    Responsibilities

    • Proactively provide direct support to the needs of all members.
    • Serve as a key resource for K-12 principals, as well as building and district leadership teams.
    • Challenge the status quo to increase access and opportunities for each and every student by dismantling historically inequitable systems in our state.
    • Assist, plan, and coordinate AWSP professional learning for members (both in person and digital learning).
    • Act as liaison and program coordinator for one of AWSP’s Grade Level Governance Boards (Elementary, Middle, High School), and other groups, committees or boards as assigned.
    • Provide direct and indirect oversight and program support to AWSP’s Learning Centers.
    • Collaborate, support, and promote AWSL (Student Leadership) programs.
    • Serve as an AWSP liaison with state boards and agencies, stakeholder groups, committees, and principal preparation programs as assigned.
    • Establish, build, and sustain key relationships with business sponsors and partners.
    • Understand and apply educational law and contractual provisions for the purpose of responding to member requests for assistance.
    • Advocate on behalf of the AWSP legislative platform.

    Professional Qualifications and Characteristics

    Applicants with the following professional qualifications and characteristics will be given the highest consideration:

    • Demonstrated commitment to our state’s students and to the importance of the principal as an educational leader.
    • Successful performance as a school administrator, including experience as a school principal, preferably in Washington state.
    • Ability to manage program and grant finances, and identify revenue generators for conferences and events. 
    • Ability to identify and analyze key educational issues in relation to AWSP’s mission, goals, and ethical standards.
    • Exhibit high ethical standards, commitment, strong communication and organizational skills, accessibility, active listening abilities, and a good sense of humor.  
    • Ability to effectively manage multiple projects and be a self-starter.
    • Familiarity with significant authors and effective presenters in the field of education and professional learning.
    • Commitment to partnering with AWSP staff to fulfill the Association’s administrative and service responsibilities to its members.
    • Ability to develop, plan, and present professional learning to large groups of adults according to research-based adult learning theory (no boring sit-and-get).
    • Master’s degree in a related field.

    Compensation / Benefits

    • Annual contract of 230 days: September 1–August 31.
    • Salary competitive with principals with similar responsibilities.
    • Vacation and sick leave provided.
    • Deferred compensation/retirement plan and VEBA plan provided.
    • Medical insurance, life insurance, short term salary insurance plan provided.

     *This position is not part of the state retirement system

    Timelines

    Position Announcement:            Friday - February 1, 2019

    Application deadline:                 Friday - March 8, 2019, at noon

    Applicant interviews:                 Wednesday - March 27, 2019

    Starting date:                            Monday - July 1, 2019

    A transition contract will be negotiated to establish a summer transition schedule prior to the Sept. 1 contract start.

    Application Procedure

    Applicants should submit the following:

    1. A letter of interest relating to the professional qualifications and characteristics required by this position.
    2. A résumé.
    3. A list of three to five references.
    4. A one-page statement (12 pt. font) describing your vision of the role you would play impacting the lives of students, principals, and educational systems in Washington as an Associate Director and valuable member of the executive team of the Association of Washington School Principals.

    AWSP encourages applications inside and outside the organization and will consider each based upon merit. Applications will be held in the strictest confidence until finalists are selected. 

    AWSP is an Equal Opportunity Employer. It is AWSP’s policy to comply with federal and state laws concerning non-discrimination and Equal opportunity employment, regardless of race, sex, age, color, religion, national origin, or any other category established in Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act or other legislation, and to take affirmative action towards the goals and intentions of the applicable laws. 

    Return completed applications to:           

    AWSP Associate Director
    Attn: Kim Marquette, Assistant to the Executive Director
    Association of Washington School Principals
    1021 8th Avenue SE
    Olympia, WA  98501-1515

    Email Kim

  • AWSL Summer Camp Registrations Are Open

    by David Morrill | Feb 02, 2019



    Student leaders are key players in a school's mission to create a culture, close the gap, ensure safety and engage the community. Guided by Washington principals for more than 60 years, the Association of Washington Student Leaders (AWSL) has provided the opportunity for student leadership training through summer camps. AWSL camps are held in three locations. Leadership camps for high school and middle level students are held at both of the two learning centers sponsored by the Association of Washington School Principals: Chewelah Peak and Cispus. CheerLeadership Camps are held at Central Washington University.

    Registration forms

  • Retirement & Health Benefit Report for Feb. 1, 2019

    by David Morrill | Feb 01, 2019

    What’s the matter with me
    I don’t have much to say
    Daylight sneakin’ through the window
    And I’m still in this all-night cafe
    Walkin’ to and fro beneath the moon
    Out to where the trucks are rollin’ slow
    To sit down on this bank of sand
    And watch the river flow."
    Bob Dylan

    The introduction of bills has slowed markedly as committees now focus on having public hearings. Then bills are moved out of their respective committees through action in Executive Session. February 22 (policy bills) and March 1 (fiscal bills) are the cutoff dates. Bills that have not advanced by then, ‘die’.

    This is a brief summary of bills of interest and their status.

    Retirement Related Proposals

    SB 5400/HB 1390 would provide a 3% cost of living adjustment (COLA) to TRS1 and PERS1 members. These bills are Select Committee for Pension Policy (SCPP) agency request legislation. Both bills are still awaiting scheduling before their respective fiscal committees.

    SB 5360/HB 1308 | Revise provisions in the public employees’ retirement system, the teachers’ retirement system, and the school employees’ retirement system with regard to plan membership default. It would change the present retirement plan default for new hires from Plan 3 to Plan 2.

    SB 5360 had a public hearing on 1/30 at 3:30 before the Senate Ways and Means Committee and Executive Session is scheduled for February 4th.

    HB 1308 had a public hearing on 1/28 at 3:30 before the House Appropriations Committee and Executive Session is scheduled for February 7th.

    SB 5414/HB 1409 prohibits a contract year for employee benefits from exceeding two hundred sixty days, for K–12 employees. Currently, upon retirement, an individual can cash in his/her accumulated sick leave at a 1:4 ratio using a maximum of 180 days. This change would increase the maximum to 260 days reflecting the longer contract years many school employees, especially administrators work.

    Both bills are awaiting scheduling for a public hearing in Appropriations (House) or Ways and Means (Senate) committees.

    SB 5178/HB 1132 concerns early retirement options for members of the teachers’ retirement system and school employees’ retirement system plans 2 and 3. It proposes changing the current option for early retirement at 62 years of age with no penalty to 60 years of age. Both bills are still awaiting public hearings.

    Substitute Options for early Retirees

    HB 1139 is a large bill relating to expanding the current and future educator workforce supply. A previous version of the bill passed the House last session but got no action in the Senate. This bill, by Representative Santos, is basically a re-introduction of the previous bill. Sections 304/305 state that educators that are members of Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS) Plans 2 or 3 that retired under the 2008 Early Retirement Factors are permitted to return to work before age 65 in any non-administrative position, not just in substitute teaching and instructional positions, and work for up to 867 hours per year without suspension of pension benefits. The ending date on the current provisions of August 1, 2020, as well as the separate section expiring the section of law, are removed, making the section effective indefinitely. A provision similar to the TRS provision is created for School Employees’ Retirement System, which is for classified school employees. It also removes the August 1, 2020 sunset date and the directive regarding substitute pay. It had a Public Hearing on 1/24 before the House Education Committee and is awaiting further action.

    SB 5430/HB 1388 allow retirees who retired under alternate early retirement factors enacted in chapter 491, Laws of 2007, to use post-retirement options prior to reaching age sixty-five. This is SCPP agency request legislation. It is similar to the above referenced bill but broader in that administrators are not excluded, bus drivers, para-pros, OT’s etc. are included. It includes PERS retirees who have retired from positions with cities and counties for example. Smaller cities/counties need the expertise of their retiree for short durations and testified in support of this change. Both bills are still awaiting hearings before their respective fiscal committees.

    HB 1362 concerns benefits eligibility during post-retirement employment for members of the public employees‘, teachers’, and school employees’ retirement systems, plans 2 and 3. It is similar to SB 5430/HB 1388 above. The sponsor supports HB 1388 cited above and will not push this bill.

    SB 5350/HB 1413 Authorizes the following, at the time of retirement, to purchase an optional actuarially equivalent life annuity benefit from:

    1. The public employees’ retirement system plan 1 fund;
    2. The public employees’ retirement system combined plan 2 and plan 3 fund;
    3. The public safety employees’ retirement system plan 2 fund; or
    4. The school employees’ retirement system combined plan 2 and 3 fund, as appropriate.

    This bill was agency request legislation from the SCPP. SB 5350 held a public hearing 1/30 and the bill is scheduled for Executive Session on 2/4 before the Senate Ways and Means Committee. HB 1413 has a public hearing scheduled February 7th.

    School Employee Benefit Board (SEEB)Health Related Proposals

    School districts need to continue contacting their legislators to educate them and express any concerns over the impending costs of SEBB. It has become clear that legislators are expressing discomfort, (some might say ‘shock’) with the $900+million-dollar cost of implementing the program and collective bargaining agreement. But they are not yet talking about the unfunded costs expected to be borne by districts.

    Important Correction: At the March meeting of the SEB Board, staff reported that the projected costs to the state for SEBB would be in the neighborhood of $200-$300 million dollars. I have indicated that projection was for school district additional costs. Wrong! At that same meeting, those costs were projected to be $30-$40 million in the aggregate. Wayne Leonard, from Mead School District estimated his district’s cost to be $750,000. Note, these figures were just best guesses back then, pre-collective bargaining agreement (CBA), and pre-gathering of any data from school districts. Until the Legislature approves the CBA, premiums are established, and all resolutions are adopted implementing eligibility, no one knows actual costs. Stay tuned.

    Health Care

    SB 5469/HB 1085 Concerns reducing the insurance premium for Medicare-eligible retiree participants in the public employees’ benefits board program. It requires the amount of a premium reduction for Medicare eligible retiree participants to be no less than fifty percent of the premium cost.

    HB 1085 held a public hearing 1/28 at 3:30 before the House Appropriations Committee. A panel representing WEA-Retired, RPEC (Public Employee Retirees,) and WSSRA (School Retirees) testified in favor of the bill. They collectively painted a very vivid picture of struggling trying to balance fixed incomes with rising medical and insurance costs.

    HB 1813 incorporates the costs of employee health benefits into school district contracts for pupil transportation. A portion of the bill reads : “Beginning January 1, 2020, any pupil transportation services contract must include: (i) Sufficient funds specifically for the contracting employer to provide the employees of the contractor with an employer health benefits contribution equal to the rate for the school employees’ benefits board program, less the retiree remittance for the public employees’ benefits board; and (ii) An amount equivalent to the total employer and employee contribution rate to the school employees’ retirement system, multiplied by the estimated salaries of the employees of the contractor. This bill is before the House Appropriations Committee and is yet to be scheduled for a public hearing. WASBO has been asked to review this bill for any concerns.

    Other Bills That May Have Fiscal/Hr Impacts For Districts

    SB 5473/HB 1445 make unemployment benefits accessible to persons with family responsibilities and other availability issues and making clarifying changes. Among other things, it revises the employment security act to provide unemployment benefits (UI) to people with family responsibilities and other availability issues. Districts will have new claimants for UI which a district could not contest.

    SB 5743 is scheduled for a public hearing on 2/4@10 AM before the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee.

    HB 1445 held a public hearing on 1/30 and is scheduled for Executive Session on 2/4 before the House Labor and Workplace Standards Committee.

    SSB 5449/HB 1399 makes technical corrections requested by the Employment Security Department in the Family and Medical Leave Act passed last session.

    A public hearing was held on SSB 5449 (a substitute bill) on 1/24. Executive action took plane on 1/28. The bill is now in Rules awaiting further action to move it to the floor calendar and the bill is awaiting executive action by the committee.

    SHB 1399 (substitute bill) was heard on 1/22. Executive action was taken on 1/28 and the bill is now before the House Appropriations Committee.

    SB 5513/HB 1515 concern the employer-employee relationship by clarifying the difference between an independent contractor and an employee.

    A public hearing for SB 5513 was held on 1/28. Close to 1,000 hair dressers descended on campus and signed in to testify in opposition. As one hair stylist said, “Don’t mess with women who have scissors.” The prime sponsor, Senator Karen Keiser, was stunned. She had no idea this bill would affect workers who rented chairs and spaces as independent business people. The Senator got the message and indicated just recently the bill will ‘die’.

    HB 1515 had a similar public hearing on 1/28. It has been scheduled for Executive Sessions twice and been cancelled. It is currently scheduled for February 4th.
    The legislative river continues to flow……….

    Fred Yancey/ Mike Moran
    The Nexus Group

  • Legislative Update - Feb. 1, 2019

    by David Morrill | Feb 01, 2019

    advocacy day group pic

    Principals in Olympia

    What an amazing show of advocacy this week as 40 principals from across our state met with their legislators on Monday, January 28 for our annual “Day on the Hill”. We wore brightly colored plaid scarves in our AWSP colors which were noticed by many (that’s a good thing!) Rep. Mike Chapman from the 24th district even requested one for his scarf collection!

    Many thanks to those who traveled to Olympia to meet with legislators and talk about the issues that concern them the most. Principals shared information and stories about special education funding, levy flexibility, graduation requirements, the complexities of working with the various higher education institutions and dual credit programs, and more. Many of our principals who came to Olympia established relationships that will continue throughout this session and beyond. Anyone can reach out to send legislators an email about specific issues. Find out who your legislators are and send them an email!

    School safety and mental health were the big themes of the week with a powerful work session in the House Education committee on Tuesday where Alissa Parker, mother of one of the first graders who was killed in the Sandy Hook school shooting, spoke about her tragic experience and her commitment to help schools strengthen safety measures. Her presentation was followed by Dr. Eric Madfis from UW Tacoma who spoke about school safety research. One of his most powerful conclusions (that we all know to be true) is relationships matter. I hammered home this point when I testified on several school safety bills in the Senate Early Learning and K–12 Education Committee on Thursday. These bills each have a different focus, but the main topics include the use of threat assessments, defining and training School Resource Officers, and regional safety centers through the ESDs.

    Here are the major safety bills so far:

    • SB 5052 | Training for SROs
    • SB 5141 | Training for SROs
    • SB 5216 | Multistage Threat Assessment
    • SB 5315 | Increasing Student Support Staff
    • SB 5317/HB 1216 | Comprehensive School Safety
    • HB 1305 | SROs in Schools
    • HB 1308 | Firearms on Schools Grounds in Certain Conditions
    • HB 1245 and HB 1507 | Both are related to comprehensive safety planning related to school buildings and construction.
    • HB 1216 | The companion school safety bill in the House to be heard next week.

    Also on tap next week is a long list of bills related to many different topics:

    House Bills

    • HB 1057 | School Bus Safety
    • HB 1221 | Youth Suicide Prevention
    • HB 1191 | Notifications of Student Criminal Offenses
    • HB 1263 | Homeless Student Support
    • HB 1272 | Lunch Duration
    • HB 1264 | Secondary Trauma in School Staff
    • HB 1454 | Responsive System for Students with Disabilities
    • HB 1674 | Changing “Alternative Learning” to “Personalized Learning”
    • HB 1479 | Building Capacity Within School Workforce Related to Mental Health

    Senate Bills

    • SB 5066 | Simple Majority for Bonds (50%)
    • SB 5252 | Simple Majority for Bonds (55%)
    • SB 5070 | Bilingual Educators
    • SB 5087 | World Language Competency Grant Program
    • SB 5159 | Transitional Bilingual Instruction
    • SB 5354 | Highly Capable Students
    • SB 5464 | Opioid Overdose Medication for Schools with Grades 7–12
    • SB 5465 | Basic Education Funding
    • SB 5532 | Special Education Funding
    • SB 5572 | Modernization Grants for Small Schools
    • SB 5603 | Enrollment and Registration for Children of Military Families

    As always, please reach out with questions and comments!

  • The Nature Principal

    by Marty Fortin | Jan 29, 2019
    On Saturday January 26th, I attended an event presented by the Pacific Education Institute. The program was the author Richard Louv, who wrote the book Last Child in the Woods, plus nine others. I even bought his newest book Vitamin N.

    This was the third time I had heard him, and his stories are still as interesting as ever. He did not talk about principals this time, but I thought about my 2011 time with him and it reminded me of my article in the Principal News that fall. I think it is worth republishing here on the blog.



    The Nature Principal (October 2011)
    By Martin E. Fortin, Jr., AWSP Director of Outdoor Learning Centers

    Last spring, I attended a lecture in Seattle by Richard Louv, who wrote the highly popular book entitled Last Child in the Woods. In the book, he coined the term Nature Deficit Disorder. His presentation was centered on his newest book inspired by a fan who reminded him that adults have the same disorder. He titled his book The Nature Principle where he outlines a course of action for human restoration by way of the natural world.

    He reports on landmark research, and adds personal stories, to illustrate his model of basic actions to help us all enhance our mental and physical capacities by reconnecting with the natural world. He really got my attention when he stated that the biggest hindrance to getting kids outdoors was the school principal. His notion was that administrators believe that education is too important to be out of the classroom.

    I do not remember much of what he said after that, instead, I was considering his statement and asking, “Could it be true?” In the last 20 years, we have seen a slow decline in the number of schools visiting our own outdoor learning facilities. Our annual attendance is now at two-thirds of what we experienced in the mid 1990’s. What are the forces that altered the view that the residential outdoor camp was a peak experience necessary for all elementary students? Certainly, the research shows that this experience enhances student learning. However, as fast as the body of supporting research has grown, the available money for outdoor programs has declined even faster.

    Perhaps we can look for a way that pre kindergarten children to high school seniors can experience the benefits of nature by first looking out the schoolhouse doors to the surrounding campus. A long bus ride into the woods is not the only way to experience nature. The schoolyard has a lot to offer. Louv’s newest initiative is The Children and Nature Network. It has many ideas of how we can help our children thrive in the out-of-doors. 

    I am proud to be a part of a statewide association that values the outdoor experience. Whether it is an annual trip for a residential science camp, or the day-to-day use of the local school environment, AWSP has served as a national leader in its commitment to support principals in the education of all students. In Washington, we have the research, the support framework, and the natural settings for our members to all become a Nature Principal.

  • Jan. 25 Retirement & Benefits Report

    by David Morrill | Jan 25, 2019

    Ol’ man river
    That ol’ man river
    He don’t say nothing
    But he must know something
    Cause he just keeps rolling
    He keeps rolling along
    ~ William Warfield

    The legislative river is running as close to 1,500 bills have been introduced since December’s prefiling. Included among those are a number of bills affecting pensions, health, and job benefits. Hearings and any resulting action moving bills out of committees have begun as both houses move toward the first cut-off date. This is a brief summary of bills of interest: Retirement Related Proposals

    SB 5400/HB 1390 would provide a 3% cost of living adjustment (COLA) to TRS1 and PERS1 members. These bills are Select Committee for Pension Policy (SCPP) agency request legislation. Both bills are awaiting scheduling before their respective fiscal committees.

    SB 5360/HB 1308 Revise provisions in the public employees’ retirement system, the teachers’ retirement system, and the school employees’ retirement system with regard to plan membership default. It would change the present retirement plan default for new hires from Plan 3 to Plan 2.

    SB 5360 is scheduled for a public hearing on 1/30 @3:30 before the Senate Ways and Means Committee.

    HB 1308 is scheduled for a public hearing on 1/28 @ 3:30 before the House Appropriations Committee.

    Adoption would result in a minimum savings of $31 million dollars in General Fund dollars, $35 million for local governments over 25 years (State Actuary figures).

    SB 5414/HB 1409 Prohibits a contract year for employee benefits from exceeding two hundred sixty days, for K–12 employees. (An earlier draft of this bill (SB 5192/HB 1156) which had been introduced was incorrectly written.)

    Currently, upon retirement, an individual can cash in his/her accumulated sick leave at a 1:4 ratio using a maximum of 180 days. This change would increase the maximum to 260 days reflecting the longer contract years many school employees, especially administrators work.

    SB 5178/HB 1132 Concerns early retirement options for members of the teachers’ retirement system and school employees’ retirement system plans 2 and 3. It proposes changing the current option for early retirement at 62 years of age with no penalty to 60 years of age. Both bills are awaiting hearings.

    Substitute Options for early Retirees

    HB 1139 is a large bill relating to expanding the current and future educator workforce supply. A previous version of the bill passed the House last session but got no action in the Senate. This bill, by Representative Santos, is basically a re-introduction of the previous bill. Sections 304/305 state that educators that are members of Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS) Plans 2 or 3 that retired under the 2008 Early Retirement Factors are permitted to return to work before age 65 in any non-administrative position, not just in substitute teaching and instructional positions, and work for up to 867 hours per year without suspension of pension benefits. The ending date on the current provisions of August 1, 2020, as well as the separate section expiring the section of law, are removed, making the section effective indefinitely. A provision similar to the TRS provision is created for School Employees’ Retirement System, which is for classified school employees. It also removes the August 1, 2020 sunset date and the directive regarding substitute pay. It is scheduled for Executive Action on 1/31 before the House Education Committee.

    SB 5430/HB 1388 allows retirees who retired under alternate early retirement factors enacted in chapter 491, Laws of 2007, to use post-retirement options prior to reaching age sixty-five. This is SCPP agency request legislation. It is similar to the above referenced bill but broader in that administrators are not excluded, bus drivers, para-pros, OT’s etc are included. It includes PERS retirees who have retired from positions with cities and counties for example. Smaller cities/counties need the expertise of their retiree for short durations and testified in support of this change. Both bills are awaiting hearings.

    HB 1362 concerns benefits eligibility during post-retirement employment for members of the public employees‘, teachers’, and school employees’ retirement systems, plans 2 and 3. It is similar to SB 5430/HB 1388 above. This is likely to be ignored in favor of HB 1388 above.

    SB 5350/HB 1413 authorizes the following, at the time of retirement, to purchase an optional actuarially equivalent life annuity benefit from:

    1. The public employees’ retirement system plan 1 fund;
    2. The public employees’ retirement system combined plan 2 and plan 3 fund;
    3. The public safety employees’ retirement system plan 2 fund; or
    4. The school employees’ retirement system combined plan 2 and 3 fund, as appropriate.

    This bill was agency request legislation from the SCPP. SB 5350 is scheduled for a public hearing 1/30 @ 3:30 before the Senate Ways and Means Committee.

    School Employee Benefit Board (SEEB)Health Related Proposals

    As is customary, committees, during the first weeks of session, hold “Work Sessions” on various topics.

    The Senate Ways and Means Committee held a work session on SEBB.

    An overview of the SEBB program was given by the Health Care Authority. Following that, presentations were given by WEA (Shawn Lewis) that made a vivid case for why the provision of health benefits was important, humane, and largely a great deal more affordable for workers. An interesting point was made that this collective bargaining agreement was bargained between a coalition of affected employers and the state as a non-employer. (As an aside, this really sets an example for a process to negotiate a statewide master contract for all K–12 employees should that idea come to fruition.)

    Kate Davis, CFO, from Highline School District presented the impact on her school district with the projected addition of 694 employees newly eligible. Estimated unfunded costs to Highline are $2.4 million in 2019–20 and $3.5 million in 2020–21. She pointed out that there were also expected yet unknown costs for a district for implementing this system/managing this project, changing IT practices/programs, and training of staff.

    She presented recommendations including raising levy allowances to pay for the unfunded costs.

    Tom Fleming, ESD 105, spoke as well. He did not have a power point but clearly pointed out the looming fiscal cost to districts. He laid out the impact of providing benefits for ECEAP and any fee based program where fees already are a challenge for those charged. In response to Chair Rolfes’ question that “Couldn’t school districts lessen the impact by changing staffing like hiring full-time substitutes?” (A very common remark from legislators who think district costs can be lessened). Fleming pointed out that only a few employee positions could be changed. Bus drivers, cooks, etc. can’t be combined into other than what they already are.

    Important What staff and presenters made clear, however, was the unknown fiscal effect on districts once SEBB becomes operational. Sure, everyone knows there will be a cost but at least two legislators asked if projections have been done, and staff said no. The presenters even acknowledged that their figures were hypothetical given that no one yet knows the premium costs, for example. What is known is the projected cost to the state for funding formula staff is in excess of $900 million. The HCA authority had stated in previous SEBB meetings as estimate of $200-$300 million in excess costs to districts.

    School districts need to be contacting their legislators if they have concerns over these impending costs and to educate them on SEBB.
    The next day, the House Appropriations Committee had a work session where staff to the committee, Dave Pringle, reviewed the SEBB program. What was again apparent was the lack of knowledge of members, (many of whom are new to the committee), about SEBB, the costs, and how it would work. Mr. Pringle did point out that the projected general fund cost for 2019–21 would be $868 million, and $1.9 Billion over four years. Note his state cost projection differs from others. When asked about the effect on the fiscal side to school districts, Mr. Pringle stated that he had seen no credible information on the added costs to school districts so didn’t know. He suggested that there has been unclear methodology for estimating SEBB’s impact. (Once again, the credibility of school district supplied information is cast in doubt.)

    Comment: Mr. Pringle rightly pointed out that little if any data exists and that figures being presented regarding projected enrollments, costs, impacts, etc. are hypotheticals since this is a new program.

    Health Care

    SB 5469/HB 1085 Concerns reducing the insurance premium for Medicare-eligible retiree participants in the public employees’ benefits board program. It requires the amount of a premium reduction for Medicare eligible retiree participants to be no less than fifty percent of the premium cost.

    HB 1085 is scheduled for a public hearing 1/28 at 3:30 before the House Appropriations Committee.

    Other Bills That May Have Fiscal/Hr Impacts For Districts

    SB 5449/HB 1399 makes technical corrections requested by the Employment Security Department in the Family and Medical Leave Act passed last session. WASBO has been asked to review the bill to see if there are any concerns. A public hearing was held on SB 5449 on 1/24 and the bill is awaiting executive action by the committee. The bill report/narrative is available. HB 1399 was heard on 1/24 and is scheduled for Executive Action on 1/28.

    SB 5513/HB 1515 concerns the employer-employee relationship by clarifying the difference between an independent contractor and an employee.

    WASBO has been asked to review the bill for any concerns. A public hearing has been scheduled for 1/28 at 10:00 AM before the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee.

    HB 1515 is scheduled for a public hearing 1/28 @ 1:30 before the House Labor and Workforce Standards Committee. It has been scheduled for Executive Session the following day, 1/29.

    And finally……

    SB 5486 concerning activities that exploit persons with dwarfism. Self-explanatory. The sponsor, Senator Padden said he became interested when a constituent contacted him about a dwarf-tossing contest in a local strip club. (I thought it was a proposal to ban broadcasting The Wizard of Oz is banned from broadcast.)

    In short, we are current, active spectators riding the rapids and watching the currents.

    Fred Yancey/ Mike Moran
    The Nexus Group

  • Jan. 24 School Employee Benefit Board Meeting Summary

    by David Morrill | Jan 25, 2019

    The School Employees’ Benefit Board met for an all-day meeting and covered, as usual a wide range of topics.  

    View Meeting Materials

    Tab 4 was a follow-up from previous meetings. Of note and related to Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML), any employer who has a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) signed before October 19,2017, does NOT have to collect the taxes for PFML until the CBA expires.

    Tab 5 was a presentation on the Governor’s proposed budget. It assumes, as does SEBB/HCA a per subscriber amount that will be invoiced to and paid by K-12 employers for each SEBB benefits-eligible employee. Note: The employer will still pay for employees who may have waived coverage. The funded rate, per prototypical staff allocation is projected to be $1,170 in FY 2020 and $1,195 in FY 2021.

    The formula is (number of protype-generated FTE)*(BAF)*(funding rate) = District Allocation.

    (The BAF is the benefit allocation factor/multiplier: 1.43 per classified staff; 1.02 for certificated.)

    HCA will update modeling and submit new suggested funding rate levels to the legislature by March 1, 2019. The figures above may change.

    Tab 6 was an overview of proposed legislation. Of note was SB 5092 which provides flexibility to school districts by authorizing school district waivers. This could have potential impact to SEBB but unknown at this point. 

    Tab 7 was a continuing education to the SEB Board on pharmacy using usage by members in the Uniform Medical Plan as a baseline. The cost of prescription drugs is driving the increase in premiums for insurance, particularly specialty drugs. As an aside, as rates go up the premium cost to those still working, the premium cost remains 85% paid by state/district and 15% paid by subscriber. Retirees, however, pay 100% of the increased cost. The most startling piece of information was that less than 1% of the prescription users who are using specialty drugs account for 53% of the total claims’ costs for prescriptions. 

    Tab 8 was adoption of various policy resolutions dealing with the number of months that self-pay coverage is allowed, particularly for dependents not eligible for coverage under the SEBB program. One example would be domestic partners who have not registered with the state.

    Tab 9 was a presentation on the Wellness Program, a component of the SEBB offerings.

    Tab 10 was a presentation of proposed resolutions related to the passage of ESSB 6241 last session. This bill made a number of technical corrections to the SEBB program. Of importance to districts was the provision that would allow employees who work less than630 hours to negotiate for coverage. Resolutions implementing this new provision were discussed. They will be circulated for feedback from stakeholders. It is important to review them. Wayne Leonard, member of the SEB Board asked if this topic was permissive or mandatory as a bargaining topic. SEBB staff will get back with an answer. Mr. Leonard also pointed out the irony that he thought the whole purpose of the SEBB process was for the state to negotiate health benefit, yet now locals have potential new authority to do so? These resolutions are due to be acted on at the March 7thSEBB meeting, so response from stakeholders is needed ASAP.

    Tab 11 was on update on the procurement process for the various medical, dental, vision, life and AD & D plans. SEBB/HCA is also looking at getting information for Home/Auto insurance, getting a vendor to help in verifying dependent eligibility, and a vendor to help during the open enrollment period.

    It is anticipated that specific premiums will be finalized in July and open enrollment will begin as early as October 2019.

    Tab 12 was an overview of the required report to the Legislature on the retired and disable employee risk pool. Until certain restraints re addressed and resolved, HCA recommends continuing the current risk pool structure for the SEBB. The eventual goal would be to create a non-Medicare risk pool for SEBB, but it is estimated that this could be done no earlier than January 1, 2022.

    Tab 13 was a presentation on the status of the on-line enrollment program for SEBB enrollees. (SEBB My Account) There will be a portal for individuals to enroll and for school district management and administration. It is being developed and tested with input from stakeholders including school districts, ESD’s WEA, and WSPIC to name a few. Employees will do most of the input as they enroll and make choices. Presentations are being done around the state.

    That’s all folks! 

  • AWSP News for January 23, 2019

    by David Morrill | Jan 22, 2019

    Welcome to another episode of AWSP News, where we discuss:

    • the new legislative session and the Tobacco 21 initiative,
    • Vicki Puckett as the NASSP Quarterly Advocate,
    • two amazing students who won $10,000 US Senate Youth Scholarships,
    • Evergreen Public School’s “starting small” video featuring AWSL’s James Layman,
    • Central Valley High School’s powerful Mental Health Awareness Day,
    • our Future School Leaders Day and Future Educators Month,
    • Rich Knuth Distinguished Mentor Award winner Heather Renner,
    • the latest issue of Washington Principal and success of the Lopez Island Farm Education program video,
    • the nomination window for the Robert J. Handy Most Effective Administrator Award, and
    • Summer Conference registration.

    Prefer to read the news? Check out the script.

  • Green Schoolyard Transformations

    by Marty Fortin | Jan 22, 2019

     

     

    Students and teachers at Webster Elementary School in the Lawndale neighborhood review plans for a new schoolyard funded through the Space to Grow initiative. (Courtesy Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago)

    Students and teachers at Webster Elementary School in the Lawndale neighborhood review plans for a new schoolyard funded through the Space to Grow initiative. (Courtesy Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago)

    Considering a school yard garden? Here are some ideas. Follow the article and then click on Space to Grow website for more of the concept.

    by Alex Ruppenthal | WTTW |

    Several Chicago schools will be transformed with green schoolyards next year. The schools were selected earlier this month for participation in Space to Grow, an initiative that transforms Chicago schoolyards with the goal of providing kids in low-income neighborhoods with safe spaces to play. The program is aimed at improving outdoor learning spaces, expanding access to community green space, growing school gardens and addressing flooding in the area.

    Read More

  • St. Edward State Park Environmental Education and Research Center

    by Marty Fortin | Jan 17, 2019

    Public Engagement Meeting Regarding St. Edward State Park Environmental Education and Research Center 

    Public Meeting on January 23, 2018, 7-9PM

    The St. Edward State Park Environmental Education and Research Center (EERC) will host the first of three public meetings on Wednesday, January 23 from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. at Husky Hall, room 1160 (10909 NE 185th St, Bothell, WA 98011). This meeting is designed to introduce the EERC to neighboring communities and collect public input around planning for the new learning center. Community members are invited to be a part of planning and visioning for the St. Edwards EERC.

    The St. Edward State Park EERC is regional environmental research and education hub that will provide field learning and environmental research opportunities to preK-12 students, local colleges, neighboring communities and park visitors from around the state. The EERC will be housed in space developed in partnership with Daniels Real Estate, LLC as part of its renovation of the St. Edward Seminary complex. In addition to more than 1,200 square feet of classroom and meeting space, the learning center will use the diverse habitats of St. Edward State Park as a living laboratory and outdoor classroom.

    As a park-based learning center, the EERC has the opportunity to provide environmental education to local students from a wide range of backgrounds, research and mentorship for undergraduate and graduate studies, faculty lectures, community-led habitat restoration, and more.

    The St. Edwards State Park EERC planning process is a joint project of Washington State Parks and the University of Washington-Bothell. For more information, visit https://www.uwb.edu/research/facilities/st-edward.

    Opportunities for public comment will be available at the meeting; public comment also may be provided electronically via the SESP-EERC web site. This is the first of three meetings that will be held from January to April 2019, as the planning process unfolds. For more information, contact StEdwards@uw.edu.