Rep. Gerry Pollet: Disability is not a choice - We have a constitutional obligation to fund every child’s education in Washington state

Sunday, May 28, 2023

Rep. Gerry Pollet. Photo from LSS>

We have a constitutional obligation to fund every child’s education in Washington state. Disability is not a choice.
However, the Legislature has capped how many children with disabilities it will fund education and disability services for and requires school districts to spend over $400 million a year from local levy money to pay for this portion of our “paramount duty.” 

That’s why I developed House Bill 1436 with special education advocates, school districts and educators. Governor Inslee signed HB 1436 on May 11, to add $417 million in new support for special education during this biennium.
While the Senate did not agree with the House to eliminate the cap on how many students with disabilities the state will pay for in each district, we did significantly increase the cap to 15%. HB 1436 and the subsequent funding increase in the state operating budget is a MAJOR and historic step forward to fully supporting all students in our state with a high-quality public education. 

But this bill only fills half of the gap and more work remains. I am hopeful that the legislature will support future proposals to completely remove the unconscionable cap because of the disproportional impact on students in our state.
Governor Inslee made it more difficult to have data on how many students have disabilities in each district by vetoing an equity study on the prevalence of disabilities amongst minorities and vulnerable populations. I’ll be working to restore funding for the equity study.

Rep. Gerry Pollet represents the 46th Legislative District, northeast Seattle


Anonymous,  May 28, 2023 at 1:58 PM  

No study is necessary. Instead make it a requirement that each school district throughout the year do their own statics, which they of course have, send the results to the School administrator for WA State and do it each Fall and each Feb 1st, two times a year. Way too much money wasted on "studies" when there are common sense ways to gain the information at No Cost.

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