Rep. Mark Hargrove’s Innovation Schools legislation signed by governor

Adding to the momentum of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) programs, Rep. Mark Hargrove’s legislation to allow schools and groups of schools to create Innovation Schools and Innovation Zones within Educational Service Districts was signed into law by the governor on May 5. House Bill 1546 is the freshman lawmaker’s first bill to be signed into law.

House Bill 1546, which passed with strong bipartisan support in the House and Senate, authorizes the creation of Innovation Schools and Innovation Zones focusing on arts, science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The new law also:

  • Directs the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) to establish a process for school districts to apply to Educational Service Districts to designate Innovation Schools or groups of schools as Innovation Zones;
  • Places a priority on schools focused on the arts, science, technology, engineering and mathematics;
  • Requires applications to be developed by educators, parents, and communities in participating schools;
  • Establishes a time frame for applications, which must be able to be implemented without supplemental state funds; and
  • Authorizes the OSPI and the State Board of Education to waive specified laws and rules using an expedited review process.

“It was rewarding to build bipartisan support in both the House and Senate to get this bill signed into law. This is a step forward for education in our state. The bill doesn’t include everything I think we can do to make our education system more dynamic, but it is a good place from which to grow,” said Hargrove, R-Covington. “When we look at successful education models around the state and nation, invariably they include innovative school choices created by parents, teachers and administrators to best fit the needs of their student populations. That’s why I introduced this legislation. I look forward to continuing the conversation in the Legislature and in our communities about what kind of education we want for our children and how we achieve it.”

Hargrove added that as the system will be set up, it will operate within the public school system.

“As a Boeing employee, I understand the need for motivating the next generation of students to fill the high-tech jobs in Washington,” Hargrove explained. “Focusing on math and science, as well as the arts, gives students the opportunity to be creative and prepares them to use their talents to invent the technologies of tomorrow. Offering public schools more freedom to put in place a learning environment that prepares each of their children for a lifetime of success in jobs right here at home is something I am very proud of. I look forward to seeing what new ideas are put forward in the classrooms around the state because of this bill.”

The next step is for the OSPI to inform schools of their ability to create an Innovation School or to be part of an Innovation Zone.


Washington State House Republican Communications