Target: Jay Inslee, Governor of Washington
Goal: Increase educational funding for children with special needs.
There is a serious need for educational reform in Washington State. The state Supreme Court has ruled that legislators must increase funding for education or the state will be fined $100,000 each day. Among Washington’s underfunded students are special needs children. This leaves local districts struggling to pay costs and children with disabilities going without services. Urge Governor Inslee to close this funding gap and give special needs children the services they need to receive quality education.
Washington will only pay for special education services for 12.7 percent of a school district’s student body. This becomes problematic when more than 12.7 percent of a district’s students have special needs. For example, 14.4 percent of students in one Washington city, Spokane, have special needs and because of this the district must pay $6 million to cover the costs the state refuses to fund.
In addition, Washington designates the same amount of funding to each special needs student, regardless of disability. Students with disabilities have a wide variety of circumstances and a one-size fits all model of funding does not meet their educational needs. These needs can include counseling, special equipment, classroom aides, and interaction with health professionals. Not all these needs are alike and not all cost the same.
The educational needs of children with disabilities will not be met as long as Washington caps state funding at 12.7 percent of students and does not fund by individual disability. Call on Governor Inslee to rectify these situations and ensure that all Washington students are fully educated.
Dear Governor Inslee,
Special needs children in Washington must be given the educational funding they need to succeed. Washington does not provide funding for all special needs children or take into account their individual disabilities. This causes funding gaps that local districts struggle to cover. Increase state funding for special needs children and fulfill Washington’s mission to educate all of its students.
Currently, Washington only provides special needs funding for 12.7 percent of a district’s student body. This causes problems when districts have a higher percentage of special needs children, which the state will not pay for. One hundred and twenty school districts in Washington have this higher percentage.
In addition, all special needs children in Washington receive the same amount of funding, regardless of their individual disabilities. Students with disabilities have diverse needs such as counseling, special equipment, classroom aids, and interaction with health professionals. These needs do not all cost the same amount and students should not be penalized for having needs that cost more.
Washington’s constitution says that the state has a “paramount” obligation to make education available to all. This obligation cannot be fulfilled unless students with disabilities receive the funding they need. Give them this funding and meet Washington’s constitutional responsibility toward each student.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: NASA