A bill has been introduced in the Washington Senate that would transfer some of the authority currently given to the state's Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) to local school boards and districts.

SB-5029 was introduced by 7th District Sen. Shelly Short (R) of Addy who says the legislation was inspired by OSPI's actions during the pandemic.

"Local school districts should be making their own decisions. And we saw this during COVID when OSPI threatened that if districts weren't abiding by what Governor Inslee had put out in his edicts there were threats of withholding funding and there were threats of fines which they instituted from (the Department of) Labor and Industries. So it was just really over the top and we don't want to ever see something like that happen again."

Short adds that her bill would not only give local school boards and districts a share of the power that OSPI currently possesses, but also permanently strip the state's superintendent of their authority over certain matters as well.

"We elect local school boards to really have that say so. They are a reflection of the communities where our schools are and I think that's the most appropriate place for most discussions, not at OSPI's level. So this bill would actually constitutionally change the superintendent's authority."

SB-5029 has five co-sponsors who are all Republicans.

The bill received its first reading last month and has been referred to the Senate's Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee.

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