Students would graduate from public high schools with a grasp of financial literacy that would serve them throughout life, under legislation passed today by the Senate.

“Throughout our adult lives, we make financial choices that shape, for better or worse, our life path and our financial security,” said Sen. Mark Mullet (D-Issaquah). “The quality of those choices will depend on whether we understand the importance and workings of savings, debt, investments and other financial basics.”

Mullet’s Senate Bill 5720 would establish a grant program to enable school districts to integrate financial literacy into elementary, middle and high school curricula.

“This would be the largest investment our state has ever made to help kids leave school with basic financial knowledge,” Mullet said. “I have heard from many people who regret they were not taught about finances before they graduated from high school and had to make important financial decisions that affected their lives for many years afterwards.”

SB 5720 would help school districts train teachers in financial literacy and would improve outreach to foster students, homeless youth, students receiving special education services, and Tribal communities.

“Financial literacy provides lifelong benefits,” Mullet said. “We have the opportunity to equip our students with a skill set that will enable them to make ends meet throughout their working years and into retirement.”

Prior to his election to the state Senate, where he chairs the Senate Business, Financial Services & Trade Committee, Mullet worked in international finance for more than 12 years. A longtime proponent of financial literacy and security, Mullet has in past years sponsored legislation to make it easier for employees to open and maintain savings accounts, to expand employee access to retirement plans, to ensure affordability of GET credits, and to reduce the costs of high school programs that prepare students for college. He owns and manages several small businesses, including a pizza restaurant and several ice cream shops.