Following is a letter sent January 29 from Washington Federation of Independent Schools Executive Director Judy Jennings to members of the Washington State Senate regarding House Bill 1329A.
I must remind you of our opposition to this bill , as expressed last session. This bill is detrimental to a large number of children in the State of Washington currently receiving a world class education through private, independent schools. That education, often faith-based, could be in jeopardy of the bill passes as it is currently written.
On behalf of the 528 private schools and 84,000 students as well as another 30,000 in their pre-school and day care programs, please do not pass this bill without explicitly excluding all church, faith-based and not for profit child care programs. This is on behalf of the Washington Federation of Independent Schools.
Last year, when the SEIU approached the Washington Federation of Independent Schools asking for their support on the bill, our board voted unanimously not to support it. It appears that was of little consequence. The striker amendment that excludes churches does not go far enough to exclude all faith-based and private independent programs. While we all believe that children should be educated in the most positive, clean and educationally informed environment possible, our schools and day care centers meet that criteria through well-articulated pedagogy, mission specific curriculum and well-trained and compensated workers. Many of our faith based and private facilities may be forced to turn away needy children or be forced to close their doors. I am sure this is an unintended consequence that may not have been considered in the planning phase of this bill.
I would be happy to assist in any way to re-write the striker amendment in order to make it achieve its intended result.
Thank you for urgent attention to this concern.
Washington Federation of Independent Schools
P. O. Box 449
DuPont, WA 98327
Telephone: 253.912.WFIS (9347)
Furthermore, WFIS is requesting you to immediately do the following:
- Go to www.leg.wa.gov and click on “Find Your Legislator” to enter your address and determine your Senator. This will take you to their e-mail link.
- Send an e-mail to your Senator requesting a “NO” vote on HB 1329 A and reinforcing the WFIS position.
- Forward this message to your entire school community – board, faculty, staff, parents and others, asking them to do the same.
- Continue to monitor your e-mail for updates and other requests for action.