Thursday, April 27, 2017

New K-12 leader: Our asks?

Make sure special education is part of the McCleary fix

Last week a group from the developmental disabilities community met with the new state superintendent for public schools, Chris Reykdal. Here is what we asked for in terms of education funding:

The Legislature is about to respond to the full-funding mandate in McCleary v. State. More than 130,000 Washington children with disabilities need your immediate support to make sure their actual, basic education costs are covered. Please work with legislators to:

  1. Remove the 12.7 percent cap on special education funding. Special education is part of the program of basic education and the state is responsible for all students identified as requiring services.
  2. Correct the formula and multiplier so that the state captures and covers the actual costs of special education, especially when services are provided in an inclusive setting. The current “excess” allocation model underfunds by at least $266 million and adds barriers to inclusion.
  3. Change the prototypical school funding model to provide at least one classified instructional employee per grade level at each school instead of less than one per school.
  4. Support the workgroup in the House budget and push to have it re-assess how we fund special education. The state needs to re-evaluate technical details and assumptions in its reports so that the office of the superintendent can better support inclusive learning environments and help districts with technical assistance. The state cannot treat special education as an enhancement service funded by local levies.
For context, here are some past posts about special education:
We also talked about the importance of transition services and data collection (especially with restraint and isolation) and spoke about inclusion, disability awareness and pride, safety and bullying.

He responded by asking us to partner around some "early wins." These were our initial ideas:
  • Improve parent membership on the Special Education Advisory Committee and add self-advocates.
  • Publicly report restraint and isolation data by disability status, and enforce reporting requirements. Clarify that districts must report restraint and isolation occurring at nonpublic agencies such as NW SOIL, Overlake and CHILD.
  • Require a law degree or bar membership when hiring special education compliance staff.
 Do you have ideas? You can email them to us at advocacy at

- The Advocacy Team at The Arc of King County