Dear friends and neighbors:

One bill of mine currently before the Senate Ways & Means Committee would reduce costs for high school students in Running Start and College in the High School programs.

Senate Bill 5719 would establish a grant program to pay up to $35 per credit for College in the High School program and exempt Running Start students from having to pay mandatory fees. These programs help kids get an early start on credits at schools like Green River Community College, Bellevue College, and the Sammamish campus of Central Washington University, to name three schools within driving distance.

The savings would be especially felt here in our 5th Legislative District. Between Issaquah, Snoqualmie, Riverview and Tahoma, we have one of the highest percentages of kids in these programs in the state, so lots of our households would benefit. Tahoma, in fact, has one of the largest College in the High School programs in the region. But no matter where you live, this is a great way to support families.

Unfortunately, kids in these programs have to pay college class fees even though they’re taking the courses while in high school. I don’t think any kid in a public high school should have to pay fees to go to school. These programs accelerate and enhance student success, a benefit that extends well beyond the individual student. It benefits businesses and households and makes for a healthier, more robust community overall. We should do all we can to make it easier for students to participate, not harder. You can hear more in this short video about the bill.

Elsewhere on the education front, my legislation to require schools to teach students financial literacy has been heard in the Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee. SB 5720 directs the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction to create a grant program to support financial literacy education and requires the assignment of staff to teach financial literacy and to coordinate appropriate outreach. Early in our adult lives, we all make financial choices that will shape, for better or worse, the remainder of our lives. The quality of those choices will depend on whether we make sure students leave high school with an understanding of the importance and workings of savings, debt, investments and other financial basics. I will keep you updated on this important bill as it moves through the Legislature.

Take care and stay safe,