Make sure special education is part of the McCleary fix
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
- The Advocacy Team at The Arc of King County