School

House passes Elliot bill to give local schools control over operation

bill passed by Jeff Switzer
OLYMPIA--The State House of Representatives passed 61-35 a bill sponsored by Rep. Ian Elliot, R-Kirkland, giving school principals, working with school boards, teachers, and parents the flexibility to waive certain state laws and policies for their school or district.
   "The principal wants his teachers behind him, he wants his parents behind him, and he has to go to the school board to make a good case for the waiver so that they will grant that authority to take on that responsibility," Elliot said.
   In response to those who said the systems were already in place to monitor which state rules were hampering local jurisdictions, Elliot said that in his experience, the "one-size-fits-all" rules were the most controversial.
   "It's going to add both authority and responsibility to the process, and I think that's very important," Elliot said. "With charter schools on the horizon--and I think we all know something's coming down the road--I look at this bill as a way of having public schools being able to compete. If ideas come along, they can use them."
   The local waiver would not apply to areas of health, civil rights, safety, certain state and federal assessment, accountability, and reporting requirements, some standardized tests, and annual performance reports. Public review and comment are written into the bill.