State Rep. Katrina Asay (R-District 30) made an appearance at the Federal Way School Board meeting March 13, saying she plans to work closely with the district and community leaders to ensure that funding to Federal Way schools stays unharmed from her fellow legislators in Olympia.
“It occurred to me, with schools being 40 percent of the state budget, maybe I should check in with you too,” Asay said. “I have been very much involved with your superintendent and assistant superintendent. They get back to me very regularly. We’ve worked on a lot of different issues, you guys are well represented through them, and I appreciate the knowledge they give to me.”
Asay said as a freshman legislator, learning the challenges that face education funding in the state is a big task.
“I am striving to learn education, but I cannot fill Skip Priest’s shoes. They’re big. He worked for many years, and his expertise was education, and I turn to him often, also, because he’s made himself available,” she said of Federal Way’s mayor, who formerly held her position in the Legislature. “So, I feel like we, as a team, are working well to represent the Federal Way School District and are doing what we can to protect the funding. School funding is my number one priority, even if the (state) constitution didn’t say it is.”
She added: “Hopefully, when all is said and done, we’ll get the Federal Way School District through this downturn in one piece.”
The 30th District representative touched on some education based bills recently passed in Olympia, most notably the teacher-principal evaluation bill. That bill creates a statewide standard for judging teacher performance. The teacher performance is based on student performance, and sets up a probationary system for teachers who fail to meet the standard. Asay said this bill sparked a lot of interest among constituents.
“This bill brought a lot of people into my office. It brought a lot of people to the table. It’s my understanding that by the time this bill was passed, it was a true collaboration, and probably no one was totally happy, which tells you good negotiations went on,” Asay said.
Asay also noted that funding for this teacher evaluation system is available in all draft versions of the state budget. Outside of that particular bill, she also touched on a revision to the Becca Bill, the 1990s-era law that held parents accountable for chronically tardy or absent students. Asay said 17-year-olds no longer fall under the purview of that bill, which frees up time and money for both school districts and the courts.
For more information on the state budget and education funding, visit www.leg.wa.gov.