Legislative Update February 11th, 2015

Legislation Updates!

Here is a bill that may be of interest pertaining to school district bonds: HB1941 calling for a simple majority vote instead of the current 60% needed to pass.
Many thanks to our friends at Bellevue Special Needs PTA who have been providing detailed updates on bills relating to special needs students and families. This came from their recent legislative update by Sarah Butcher:
Legislation:
Restraint and Isolation:  HB 1240
For more information on the bill and upcoming hearings look here.  We are organizing parents, advocates and educators to attend in support. You can also write into your legislator with your comments.
Paraeducator Standards:  HB 1293 and SB 5179  
For more information on upcoming hearings or to send comments on SB 5179 look here.  For more information on upcoming hearings or to send comments on HB 1293 look here.
Special Education Commission
There will be legislation based on the recent report of the Office of The Education Ombuds.  We will notify you when the bill is dropped and we have need of specific action.
 
SEL Bill:  HB 1760 / SB 5688  
Providing Students With Skills That Promote Mental Health and Wellbeing and   Increase Academic Performance.  
For more information on upcoming hearings or to send comments on SB 5688 look here.  For more information on upcoming hearings or to send comments on HB 1760 look here.
There will be other bills that will impact Special Education students, we will update you on those as they come forward.
Opportunities
 
State Special Education Advisory Council (SEAC)  The SEAC helps to facilitate the provision of special education and related services.  They work on issues specifically related to special education in Washington.  They allow public comment in their meetings, generally at 3:30 pm.  Their next meeting is on February 4, 2015 in Olympia

CALL TO ACTION: Office of the Education Ombuds Report, and Blue Ribbon Special Education Commission

SpecialEdTaskForce Report FINAL11.14

(from our friends at Bellevue Special Needs PTA!)

Greetings.

Last week, the Governor’s Office of the Education Ombuds released their final report and recommendations regarding the creation of a Commission to improve outcomes for students with disabilities in our public schools.  [The report is available for download above.]  As advocates, parents and educators you know it is time for Washington state to take an intentional look at how we educate students with disabilities.  We need the Governor to understand that this issue is important to you, to know that there is an immediate need for this work, and to know that he should support it.  Feel free to write your own personal message or you can edit and use the message below.  If you are a parent of a student with a disability please mention that in your message.  Also… please send out to your networks!

Remember that your voice and your story are powerful advocacy tools.  Please use them and join us in this effort!

Sample Message:

Dear Governor Inslee,

 

As a parent of a student with a disability (or advocate of students with disabilities), I am writing to ask for your support in the creation of a Blue Ribbon Special Education Commission for Washington State.

 

Our systems of general education and special education are not meeting the needs of students with disabilities.  I have read the report from the Office of the Education Ombuds and stand behind its recommendations.   I ask you to do the same.  Disability does not discriminate and students with disabilities are in all areas of our education system across our great state. Any work to improve outcomes for them, will also benefit all students in our schools.

 

Please take leadership on this opportunity.  Lend your voice, and support, to Washington’s Blue Ribbon Special Education Commission, so that when we say “All students”, we truly mean “Each and Every Student” in our state.

 

Thank you for the work you do and for being an advocate to ensure that all of Washington’s students, including those with disabilities, have the opportunity to achieve personal and academic success.

 

Sincerely,

Your Name

You can send the Governor an email message at https://fortress.wa.gov/es/governor/  or you can write or call him at:

Write

Governor Jay Inslee

Office of the Governor

PO Box 40002

Olympia, WA 98054-0002

Call

(360) 902-4111

TTY/TDD users should contact the Washington Relay Service at 711 or 1-800-833-6388

Special Education Audit

Highline Schools held a review of Special Education in Highline during the spring of 2014 through Urban Collaborative. The audit was reported on at the July 8th School Board Meeting. You can read the full audit here.

Visit our home page to read a response from the Highline Special Needs PTA Board to the audit. We are looking forward to seeing how the district implements the proposed recommendations and improving education for all our students.