Considering years of resistance to even looking at the cap, this is a significant shift and will increase funding for hundreds of students with disabilities.
However ... going off last year's list of districts over the cap, the change means just 30 additional districts will now have all of their students requiring special education covered; the remaining 90 districts -- including one of the state's largest, Spokane -- still fall short.
- Summary chart of new K-12 basic education investments
$300 million short ... additional $9.4 million in relief
For some context, in a 2015 amicus brief in the McCleary school funding lawsuit, the state superintendent's office reported school districts paid an additional $266 million in local funds to cover the full cost of special education that year. Another $40 million in relief came from the state's special education safety net, putting the state's basic education allocation for special education about $300 million short.
This proposed change in the cap funds an additional $9.4 million for special education next year.
So ... a significant shift from refusing to consider or even discuss special education funding. But not a solution.
- Ramona Hattendorf, Director of Advocacy, The Arc of King County