Category Archives: Legislative

Option School Class Sizes

Did you know class sizes are going up for only Options Schools like Salmon Bay? This decision is being made this week! Please get to the school board meeting Wednesday with a sign supporting sensible class sizes and email the Board.

Our K-5 have recently been assigned LARGER class room sizes in 2017/2018. Option schools are being enrolled at 26 students for Kindergarten – 3rd grade (and 28 for grades 4-5) while attendance area schools (e.g. Whittier, Adams, Loyal Heights, North Beach, Viewlands) are being enrolled at LOWER class sizes (K-22, 1st-24, 2nd/3rd-25, 4th/5th-27).

Higher class sizes can work for language immersion schools (because of attrition) and other special situations but the vast majority of option schools in Seattle will be hurt by this policy including Salmon Bay. This is strange because more and more parents are asking for option school placement, Salmon Bay has a “waitlist” at every grade in elementary.

What we’d like to see is a policy where option schools are enrolled the same as attendance area schools. And if option schools want a waiver for higher class sizes, that can be granted. This is the only equitable option for students and teachers.


ACTION OPPORTUNITY #1:  Come to School Board Meeting on Wednesday, April 5. Support those giving public testimony against the current class size arrangement. This will be the last chance to influence this decision before school assignments happen. The ability to sign up for testimony has passed but if you happened to have signed up for please contact Mardi Brekke-Hutchings ( and/or Cathy Liermann ( (parents from Thornton Creek) so we can coordinate testimonies. Bring a sign.

ACTION OPPORTUNITY #2:  Please email these district personnel today:

Michael Tolley

Stephen Nielsen

Sherri Kokx

Ashley Davies

Faauu Manu

JoLynn Berge and


Charlie Mas sent me a response to a question with the following, it captures the situation very well:

“The funding of option schools is the same as attendance area schools. The difference is that attendance area schools have no choice in how a significant portion of their funding is spent while option schools are given more flexibility. Or so the District would have you think.

The District says that option schools can choose to spend the funds on lowering class size. In that case, they suggest, the class sizes will be the same as those at attendance area schools. The District says that they are giving option schools the opportunity to self-determine whether to have the smaller class sizes or to have slightly larger class sizes and reallocate the class size reduction funds to another purpose.

Of course, if the option schools are enrolled so that they have, for example, three third grade classes with 26 students in each, they can’t very well leave nine students in the hall to get their class size down to 23. And the additional funding isn’t enough to create four classes of 19 or 20. So I’m not really sure how the options schools could choose to have class sizes that match the attendance area school class sizes.
Perhaps the District officials could explain how this flexibility works if the option schools wanted to spend the money to match attendance area school class sizes.”



Scott Koch

FOSB Co-Chair

Focus Day 2017

Education Funding Crisis

The Seattle Public Schools system is facing a budget crisis with a looming levy cliff. The state has given school districts all across Washington a double whammy this year. They have failed to fully fund basic education as originally promised by the start of 2018 (i.e. the 2017-18 school year) AND, through further legislative inaction, the amount that local districts can collect from local “operations” levies is being reduced by the start of 2018. As a result, the Seattle school district is facing an estimated $74 million shortfall for school year 2017-18.

If you disagree with these cuts, you can contact your representative and or email the governor. However, the legislators who have blocked additional funding live outside of Seattle and are part of the majority coalition in the Senate. If you want to make your voice heard, you can find their contact information here. If you have family or friends in those districts please have them contact their representative in support of public school funding.

2017 Focus Day Activities

Join other Salmon Bay families and teachers at PTA Focus Day in Olympia (Monday, January 16, 2017) to show support for public education and the whole child. In addition to getting the chance to meet directly with your state representatives and network with other PTA advocates, there will be a rally on the Capitol steps at 10:30 a.m., co-hosted by WSPTA and many of our education funding allies including the Washington Education Association, NAACP, Washington’s Paramount Duty and others. The Focus Day Agenda can be found here.

NOTE: There’s no need to sign up for anything, just head down and join us. Parking is difficult and you may want to bring a lunch.

Thanks to Erin for setting up a google doc for carpooling. Please sign up if you intend to drive and can fit extra folks in your car:

As of Monday (1/9) Seattle Council PTSA has room on a charter bus for Focus Day. Several Salmon Bay families will be using the bus:

36th District Meetings:

    11:30am – (Senate Hearing Room 2) 36th District meeting with Senator Reuven Carlyle
    1:15pm-1:35pm (Waiting for Room Confirmation) 36th District meeting with Representative Noel Frame
    2:00pm-2:20pm (Legislative Building, Room 429A) 36th District meeting with Representative Gael Tarleton

PTA Agenda

8:00am (Columbia Room) – Registration opens. Be sure to register by January 9 to receive your free WSPTA Top 5 t-shirt

9:00am (Columbia Room) – Overview of the day, build signs.

10:30am – Join the rally on the capitol steps

11:15am – Advocacy at the local level and WSPTA legislative discussions, with lunch (register by 1/9 to reserve and pay for your lunch)

12:00pm (Rotunda) – Listen to Governor Inslee, SPI Reykdal, & WSPTA President Barbara Martin

12:45pm (Columbia Room) – Discussions on how to communicate with legislators in Olympia and in your home district

1:30pm – Meet with your legislators, if you did not in the morning

3:30pm – Adjourn

Contact Scott Koch at for more information about Focus Day and carpooling opportunities.

MLK Day Rally & March

For families not attending Focus Day for Salmon Bay, please join us to honor Martin Luther King, Jr. and continue the work at the MLK Day Celebration. We will identify a meet-up point for Salmon Bay families to attend the march together. The rally begins at 11 a.m. in the gymnasium of Garfield High, and we will meet to march together following the rally. Check next week’s bulletin for an exact meeting location. Please contact Erin or Danielle with questions.

Focus Day 2016

How would you spend $100K a day on Washington State’s public schools?

The Washington state Supreme Court ruled that the state must pay $100,000 per day in fines until lawmakers craft a comprehensive plan to fully fund schools by 2018.

  • 2 teacher salaries
  • 26,667 school lunches for kids
  • A smart board for 40 classrooms

Speak out on behalf of your children and for all children in this state. Start by emailing your legislators. Next, see democracy in action by joining other Salmon Bay families at Focus Day in Olympia on Wednesday, February 3, 2016. WSPTA has reserved the Columbia Room, 1st floor of the Legislative Building as a place to gather, share information and prepare for the day’s events.

Need some background? Come to an evening of education advocacy January 20th, 2016, from 7:00-8:30 p.m. in the Whitman MS auditorium. Speakers will include Heidi Bennett (Northwest Area Director, SCPTSA), Eden Mack (Legislative Chair, SCPTSA) and Tania de Sá Campos (Schools First) as guest speakers who will demystify education funding in Washington State. Heidi came to Salmon Bay last year and gave a fantastic talk about school funding.

Going To Focus Day 2015

1. Email Your Representatives

Although this sounds insignificant, we’ve heard from several representatives that they don’t get a lot of email from public school parents. It makes a big difference..

Find Your Legislator and tell them you want ample funding!

2. Come to Focus Day

WSPTA’s annual Legislative Focus Day on Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Note Although FOSB is not a PTSA the WSPTA welcomes all supporters of public education.

If you’re carpooling things get under way around 9:00 with main rally at noon. This is a rough schedule based on last year’s agenda (note that there are no PTA provided kids activities this year):

8:00 – 11:45 a.m.

  • Constituents meet with their legislators.
  • Tours of Capitol can be taken on the hour.

9:30 – 11:45 a.m.

  • Constituents meet with their legislators

11:00 – 11:45 a.m.

Pick up pre-purchased lunches in the Columbia Room.

Noon – 1:00 p.m.

  • Stand up, Speak up and Show up rally on the steps.
  • Bring your banners and signs! Let’s make some noise about our Top 5 priorities!
  • Hear from state leaders and leading advocates.

1:00 – 3:00 p.m.

  • Constituents meet with their legislators.
  • Tours of the Capitol can be taken on the hour.

Noon – 3:00 p.m.

Drop off Legislative Visit summaries at the resource table outside the Columbia Room.

For people located in the 36th District, we will post meeting time here when they become available. If you’re in a different district you will be able to coordinate when you get there.

For any additional info contact Ian Whyte or Scott Koch.



Rep. Tarleton chosen as Majority Floor Leader

Congratulations to Rep. Tarleton on becoming Majority Leader!

Rep. Tarleton visited Salmon Bay in November 2015 to talk about school funding and other topics in State government. Gael had a lot to say and it was a great conversation.


Monday Night with your Legislator, Part Two

The FOSB Legislative Committee is pleased to welcome Representative Reuven Carlyle back to Salmon Bay at 6:45 P.M. Monday night (the first Monday after Thanksgiving) for an evening of conversation and planning about education and revenue.


Representative Carlyle was elected to the Washington House of Representatives in 2008, representing the 36th legislative district. He is currently serving his 3rd term in the House, and is on four committees:

Finance (Chair)
Appropriations Subcommittee on Education
Government Operations & Elections

He will move to the Senate next year filling the seat left by senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles. Have questions? Want answers? Come ask on Monday!

Please send any prepared questions you would like to ask, or issues you would like to raise, to us at

Monday Night with your Legislator, Part One

When caring is not enough

From fundraising to volunteering in the classroom and everything in between, you would be hard-pressed to find a community that supports a school more whole-heartedly than we support Salmon Bay K-8.  Yet even with all of our hearts and wallets put together, we do not have the resources to create classes of a size that enable teachers to focus more on teaching than they do on managing their classrooms.
There is one reason for this: Washington State is and has been chronically underfunding education. In 2013, as part of the McCleary case, the state  identified targets* that it said would represent steady progress towards fully funding education, as required by the state constitution. You need only take a look at the attached image to see how far short of that target we are falling.


There is only one way out of this downward spiral: The state legislature must increase funding for education at a rate that even it has agreed represents steady progress towards ample funding.

Supporting our representatives

Salmon Bay K-8 is in our state’s 36th Legislative District. We are represented in the House by two capable, dedicated legislators: Reuven Carlyle and Gael Tarleton.  Both care enough about this issue, and about us, to spend an evening discussing how we can help them do what they must do in order to resolve the crisis in education funding.

  • Representative Carlyle is coming the first Monday night after Thanksgiving, November 30th. Please save the date.
  • Representative Tarleton is coming this Monday night, 16 November. We’ll meet at 6:45 PM in the library for a short social quarter-hour, then sit down to talk about how we’re going to fix this. Please join us!
    • Representative Tarleton is on the following committees:
      • Technology & Economic Development (Vice Chair)
      • Higher Education
      • Rules
      • Transportation

In the meantime, please send any questions you would like to ask, or issues you would like to raise, to us at


* As reported by Network for Excellence in Washington Schools. Targets are based on “prototypical school” as defined by ESHB 2261. During the McCleary trial, the State assured the Court that the 2009 education reform and funding law, ESHB 2261, is the promise that K – 12 public education will be fully funded by 2018.

Night with Your Legislator

Join us Monday, November 16th at 6:45 PM in the Salmon Bay Library as we welcome 36th District Representative Gael Tarleton discussion of current issues. Want to know the chances of the McCleary decision being fully funded? Curious about tax reform in this state? How about higher education or the social safety net? Come ask your legislator….

Part Two: Representative Reuven Carlyle, on Monday 30 November.


Proposed Agenda:

6:45 – 7    Meet and greet
7 – 7:10    Introductions to:

  • Current education issues
  • FOSB Legislative Committee
  • Speakers

7:10 – 7:20    Tarleton remarks
7:20 – 7:30    Carlyle remarks
7:30 – 8:00    Submitted questions
8:00 – 830    Ad hoc questions, discussion



WA Supreme Court fines legislature $100K per day for under-funding education, starting today

In the bottom line of the penultimate page of an order issued today, our state supreme court writes:

Effective immediately, the State of Washington is assessed a remedial penalty of one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) per day until it adopts a complete plan for complying with article lX, section 1 by the 2018 school year.

While this penalty (which won’t amount to more than $14 million before the start of the next legislative session) may be considered a slap on the wrist for the Olympians, it is certainly more than symbolic, and its significance in our effort to restore the funding necessary to properly educate our children cannot be overstated.

In reporting on the order, the Seattle Times quotes Andrew Siegel, an associate professor of constitutional law at Seattle University,

“The court intends these to have bite, intends them to demonstrate that the court believes the court’s order has been ignored and that the constitutional obligations are not being met, but they’re also calibrated in terms of size and designed in terms of structure so that they’re not meant to burn down the building.”

Legislature makes budget deal, but Superintendent Dorn says it’s not nearly enough

The Washington State Legislature finally reached a deal on a budget, Politico reports, but State Education Superintendent Randy Dorn said the budget doesn’t go nearly far enough in coming up with a court-ordered plan to fully fund basic education by 2018, which makes a showdown with the State Supreme Court a possibility. Stay tuned.

Latest from Olympia: Bill to establish new teacher salary schedule, ban local levies

The Associated Press reported Wednesday that the Washington Senate offers bill to fix school funding.

Excerpt: The measure proposes a new statewide teacher salary schedule and bans the use of local levy dollars for basic education. The bill would ask the state auditor and the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction to keep an eye on local school districts to make sure they aren’t breaking the law.