State Legal Holidays. Washington recognizes 11 specific days as state legal holidays: New Year's Day; Martin Luther King, Jr. Day; Presidents' Day; Memorial Day; Juneteenth; Independence Day; Labor Day; Veterans' Day; Thanksgiving Day; Native American Heritage Day; and Christmas Day.
School Holidays. Washington recognizes ten specific days as school holidays on which school may not be taught: New Year's Day; Martin Luther King, Jr. Day; Presidents' Day; Memorial Day; Independence Day; Labor Day; Veterans' Day; Thanksgiving Day; Native American Heritage Day; and Christmas Day.
Juneteenth, which was declared a state legal holiday in 2021, is the only state legal holiday that is not included in the enumerated list of school holidays.
All state legal holidays are also school holidays on which school may not be taught. The list of specific school holidays is removed.
PRO: This is a simple bill that provides a technical fix. Last year the Legislature chose to recognize Juneteenth as a state holiday, but inadvertently left Juneteenth off the list of school recognized holidays. This bill clarifies that all state holidays are school holidays, which will provide parity across all districts. Students and parents have expressed a wish for a historically accurate curriculum for this holiday, so that all districts can teach the history of Juneteenth.
CON: Adding another holiday interrupts student learning, which has already suffered constant disruption and instability over the past two years. This is another state mandate that imposes an agenda on local districts, and it would affect parents having to take unpaid time off or find childcare.
OTHER: While the intent of the bill is to address ambiguity, there are still questions regarding how this will impact classified staff. The Legislature needs to fully fund cost impacts and include language in the intent section noting classified staff are granted this holiday.