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Seattle Times op ed on "urgency" for legislature fully fund SPED; "stark testimony" from districts

Jan 25, 2019, EDITORIAL Seattle Times: Special education funding should be Legislature’s top priority Special education should be considered basic education. The state has a constitutional obligation to cover basic education with state dollars. Shortchanging school districts and the children they educate is just wrong. Washington lawmakers are acting like they don’t understand the urgency of special education funding gaps. No more hearings or studies or debates are needed. Washington has clearly underfunded special education services, and the Legislature must fix this immediately. Voters need a clear signal as many are being asked to approve local levies next month to pay for the state’s irresponsible shortfall. Lawmakers need immediately to change funding formulas and pledge — in stone or as close to it as possible — more money for special education before diving into new business. On Wednesday, the Senate Early Learning and K-12 Education Committee heard stark testimony from school districts around the state. With the state not giving them enough money to pay for special education, many district officials say they have no choice but to ask local voters to pay the difference with their property tax bills…. The problem has been defined by school districts and the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction. Superintendent Chris Reykdal, last year, called for the Legislature to add $160 million to the state budget for special education. Yet, lawmakers added just $26.9 million for the 2018-19 school year. …
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