Monday, November 27, 2006

Education Week on the Special Ed Lawsuit

A short, concise update, from the November 8th edition:

Spec. Ed. Financing System On Trial in Washington State

Washington school districts gave their openings statements last week in a trial in which they are asking a state court to throw out the state’s system of financing special education, arguing that more than 120,000 special education students are being shortchanged.

A loss in the case could cost the state at least $100 million a year in more generous budgets.

Twelve districts from around the state – joined by Seattle, Tacoma, and 70 other supporting districts – urged Thurston County Superior Court Judge Thomas McPhee to rule that the system falls short of the constitutional mandate to fully finance basic special education.

But Washington state Assistant Attorney General Bill Clark defended the current setup in his statements in court last week, saying the state and local districts together fully meet the needs of all students.

The two-year state budget provides $1.38 billion in state and federal support for special education, roughly 10 percent of the K-12 budget of $13.8 billion. The state has 1 million pupils.

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3 Comments:

Anonymous C.Perkins said...

WSSEC Files Amicus in Special Ed Lawsuit
Blaming Special Ed Identified Students is Discriminatory
Districts Must Count All Revenues for Special Ed
True Shortfall is in Basic Ed Funding


Dear Friends of Special Education:

We thank nearly 100 individuals/organizations who signed on to the Amicus (friend of the court) declaration with short notice and a tight deadline, but many of you let us know you needed more time. We can still accept additional batches of names ( individuals and organizations) for the amicus brief for as long as the court will accept them, all you need to do is simply send an email to Christie Perkins at edadvocate@mac.com . .

WSSEC press release is in text below, Amicus attached.

Donna Obermeyer
Parent/Community Coordinator
Washington State Special Education Coalition
www.wssec.org
******************

www.wssec.org


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – November, 19, 2006

Contact: Christie Perkins Wa State Special Ed Coalition Public Policy Chair, 253-588-0637 or edadvocate@mac.com .

Washington State Special Education Coalition files amicus brief opposing school districts claims of underfunding of special education.

Thurston County Superior Court – Nov. 20, 2006

The WSSEC is filing an amicus declaration stating that basic education is underfunded, but special education is not underfunded when all revenues are actually accounted for.

People with disabilities, parents and educators are well aware of the shortfall of basic education, but cannot allow special education children to be blamed for the overall shortfalls. Districts need to add ALL of the revenue that each special ed student generates and not just the special ed excess costs dollars plus a very, very small amount of their basic ed allocation when they review their budgets.

A thorough and honest review of education funding shows an incredible shortfall of funds for the kind of public education that is expected today. In particular, there are numerous types of support that are needed for a number of students, but these are not special education supports. In fact, fewer students would need the more expensive special ed services if there were greater interventions provided before referral to special education.

The Washington State Special Education Coalition, along with over 75 parents, educators and students who signed on in support, oppose the suit filed by the school districts calling themselves the “School Districts’ Alliance for Adequate Funding of Special Education.”

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8:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No one is against giving schools the resources they require to get the job done, but what is being done, exactly and specifically, with the current resources given to districts?

Should we give more money to schools simply because they request it? Is public education now that sancrosant an institution where now give blind trust to anyone in this institution simply because of the perception that because of low pay, anyone in this industry must be of noble character, fiscally responsible and a good steward of the public's resources?

The first thing that should have happened when the Shameful Eleven started this lawsuit, is that OSPI, or the governor, should have immediately ordered a performance audit of those eleven districts. Even without an audit, crafty state attorneys could have gleaned a LOT of info on these school districts' financial practices with special ed just by doing some simple Open Records requests on the books, and copies of checks written to vendors.

Christie Perkins from the WSSEC is exactly on point with wanting to have the books looked at before everyone starts blaming special ed for general ed's financial woes, but the call for open books shouldn't end with special ed. A complete accounting of all a school district's operations should be required before we appropriate more funds to education.

Jessica Olson
Everett

9:32 AM  
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5:11 AM  

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