School boards select a president or vice president, but did you know they also select a legislative representative or “leg rep”?
School board leg reps monitor legislation that could impact public schools and inform their board of emerging issues and advocacy opportunities. They also serve as their board’s liaison with the Washington State School Directors’ Association (WSSDA) on legislative matters.
With WSSDA, the leg reps may represent their board at WSSDA’s annual General Assembly, conveying local views and concerns to their statewide peers. When appropriate, the legislative representative obtains their board’s support for a legislative proposal to be submitted to the assembly and then supports it at the event.
“I represent a school district with only about 865 students,” said Rainier School Board member Rebecca Stillings, “but at General Assembly, people listen to me and what I have to say about my district and the challenges our students face.”
If successful, a board’s proposal will be adopted by a majority vote at the assembly and added to WSSDA’s advocacy platform.
Another key function of the leg rep is to build relationships with local policymakers and state and federal legislators. Sharing coffee, phone calls, or even arranging legislator visits to local schools are all great ways to build those connections. Since legislators are busy during a session, the off-season or “interim” as it’s called, is usually the best time.
To learn more, watch the video below or visit wssda.org/legreps.