Dear Graduate Tacoma Partners,
With a flurry of last-minute activity the state legislature has officially closed the 2019 session. We are thrilled to report there was positive action taken on all five of our 2019 Advocacy Priorities.
Before going into policy details, the Foundation for Tacoma Students would like to humbly thank the Graduate Tacoma Community for supporting us as we rolled out this new capacity and more importantly for supporting Tacoma students through policy change. It was because of your numerous phone calls, emails and social media shares that our Pierce County Delegation was able to go to the mat for some of the issues they knew were important to our movement’s ability to improve educational outcomes for our students.
You demonstrated the power of Tacoma voice and the effectiveness of collective advocacy. We are so very excited to see this momentum carry into future advocacy efforts to improve the lives of our students.
PRIORITY ONE: Equalize the School Levy Cap
- In the last hour of the 2019 session, the state legislature approved Senate Bill 5313 effectively lifting the lid for Tacoma to collect $2500 per student beginning in 2020. This means while we still have a deficit to address this school year, we will start to collect the full levy dollar amount per student beginning in 2020. We can’t thank our local delegation champions enough for their continued support for this issue.
PRIORITY TWO: State Need Grant
- The legislature passed House Bill 2158, “Workforce Investment Account.” This bill provides full and stable funding for the State Need Grant, guided advising, and expanded pathways to high demand careers so more students can earn post-high school credentials in Washington State. This is a victory for all our students who currently and will in the future qualify for the state need grant.
PRIORITY THREE: Resource Career Connected Learning
- House Bill 2158 achieved two very important things:
- Established a Career Connected Learning cross-agency workgroup.
- Established a competitive Career Connected Learning grant program, which regional STEM networks will be eligible to apply for. The exact amount of funding for this is tied to other aspects of the budget. We will know more in the coming days.
PRIORITY FOUR: Invest in Children Ages 0-5
- The Help Me Grow, Pierce County pilot, was included in the final state budget for $1.25 million over the two-year biennium. A message from Project Child Success on this issue: Thank you, thank you, all for your incredible support in getting this through!
PRIORITY FIVE: Puget Sound Taxpayer Accountability Account
- Senate Bill 5851 passed through both chambers and was signed into law by Governor Inslee.