PTA Takes Action: Special Education Funding

Contact the House Appropriations Committee about their budget TODAY

The House Budget for Washington State was released on Monday and will be voted on this Friday before it moves on to the Senate. They are proposing a mere $70 million per biennium increase in funding for special education for the entire state. Seattle Public Schools alone has a $140 million per biennium deficit in Special Education Funding. The proposed increase from the House would mean $4.4 million per biennium more for SPS – clearly not enough.

OSPI puts the statewide SpEd deficit at $230 million for 2017-2018.

We need to let the House know NOW that they must come up with more funding for SPS and districts across the state, or lift the levy lid and allow districts to collect voter approved funds to bridge the gap in education funding. Without doing so, districts face significant deficits and cuts next year that will affect all students, most especially those already affected by inequity in our education system.

FOR IMMEDIATE ACTION: please call or email everyone on the House Appropriations Committee and let them know that their current proposal is not acceptable. Appropriations Committee members are listed here, with their phone numbers and links to their contact forms. You can also email them directly by copy/pasting this email list (I think I got them all):

Timm.Ormsby@leg.wa.gov, Steve.Bergquist@leg.wa.gov, June.Robinson@leg.wa.gov, Drew.Stokesbary@leg.wa.gov, Drew.MacEwen@leg.wa.gov, Skyler.Rude@leg.wa.gov, Michelle.Caldier@leg.wa.gov, Bruce.Chandler@leg.wa.gov, Eileen.Cody@leg.wa.gov, Laurie.Dolan@leg.wa.gov, Mary.Dye@leg.wa.gov, Joe.Fitzgibbon@leg.wa.gov, Drew.Hansen@leg.wa.gov, Larry.Hoff@leg.wa.gov, Zack.Hudgins@leg.wa.gov, Laurie.Jinkins@leg.wa.gov, Vicki.Kraft@leg.wa.gov, Nicole.Macri@leg.wa.gov, Gina.Mosbrucker@leg.wa.gov, Eric.Pettigrew@leg.wa.gov, Gerry.Pollet@leg.wa.gov, Cindy.Ryu@leg.wa.gov, Joe.Schmick@leg.wa.gov, Tana.Senn@leg.wa.gov, Larry.Springer@leg.wa.gov, Derek.Stanford@leg.wa.gov, mike.steele@leg.wa.gov, Pat.Sullivan@leg.wa.gov, Robert.Sutherland@leg.wa.gov, Gael.Tarleton@leg.wa.gov, Steve.Tharinger@leg.wa.gov, Mike.Volz@leg.wa.gov, Alex.Ybarra@leg.wa.gov

Here are some possible scripts:

Dear Members of the Appropriations Committee,

Special Education is Basic Education, and the State Constitution calls upon you to amply fund education. This means you must fully fund Special Education and $70 million per biennium is not enough. OSPI puts the 2017-2018 statewide Special Education Deficit at $230 million.

I expect you to do better for Washington’s students. Please amend the budget to fully fund Special Education.

*****

Dear Members of the Appropriations Committee,

Seattle Public Schools needs $70 million more for Special Education funding than what you are providing. SPS has a moral and legal obligation to educate all students, including those with disabilities. Your failure to meet your obligation to fund Special Education is not resolved by giving Seattle Public Schools only $2.2 million more in Special Education funding. Please amend the budget to reflect the actual costs of Special Education, and to make sure that all students can get the basic education they need and deserve.

****

Dear Members of the Appropriations Committee,

$70 million per biennium increase in Special Education Funding is insulting. OSPI’s numbers show that at least $450 million per biennium is needed.

Your failure to fund Special Education has had a direct impact on my family. [Insert anecdote here.]

I ask you to amend the budget and fully fund Special Education.

****

Dear Members of the Appropriations Committee,

While I appreciate your efforts to come up with new, progressive revenue sources, the $70 million per biennium increase in Special Education Funding is not sufficient. I am writing to ask that you amend the budget to reflect the true cost of Special Education. OSPI’s most recent numbers put that at $230 million per year, but the expectation is that Special Education costs will increase at a rate greater than inflation. $460 million per biennium seems like a more reasonable increase in Special Education Funding.

Thank you for your attention to this critical funding issue.

****

You can find the budget here
http://leap.leg.wa.gov/leap/budget/detail/2019/ho1921p.asp

Please contact these legislators today!

ALKI ELEMENTARY PTA