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Supporting “Baby Bonds” to Break the Cycle of Poverty

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WEA President Larry Delaney testifies to House Appropriations

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Coming up this week

  • Senate Human Services is hearing a bill to create the Washington Future Fund (SB 5125) on Monday and the House Human Services committee will hear a similar bill (HB 1094) on Friday at 8am.  WEA Legislative Strategy Co-Chair Jenn Black will be there to testify in favor of this bill.  Add your voice by signing in “pro.” Visit the House committee page and  select "pro." Read more about the Washington Future Fund.
  • Our current school capital funding system favors larger districts and that’s why we have our eyes on the bill regarding school construction for small districts (SB 5126) in Senate Early Learning and K-12 Education Monday at 1:30pm. 
  • Tuesday we’ll be at the House Education Committee to testify in favor of the bill establishing minimum employment requirements for paraeducators (HB 1015) and the bill reviewing reprimands for educators (HB 1113).
  • WEA will testify in support of a bill ensuring elementary students get enough recess (SB 5257) and a bill for universal screening for highly capable students (SB 5072) in their Wednesday 1:30pm hearing in Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education.
  • School funding is on the agenda in Thursday’s Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education hearing, and we’ll be there to support more equitable safety net award distribution (SB 5031) and improvements to the Special Education funding formula (SB 5311).

If you’re interested in testifying on these bills, please contact WEA Lobbyist Simone Boe.

WEA members who testified this week: WEA President Larry Delaney (on the Governor’s proposed operating budget), United Faculty of Washington State President Bill Lyne (on a higher ed faculty bill)

If you provided verbal or written testimony before the legislature, we’d like to do a shout-out about you! Please contact WEA Lobbyist Simone Boe.

What is the Washington Future Fund?

As educators, we see how income inequality begins at birth and too often poverty is inherited and passed down through generations.  Now, Washington’s legislature is exploring ways to support the lowest-income Washingtonian babies to interrupt this cycle.

The proposed Washington Future Fund creates “baby bonds,” a state-funded savings and investment account designated for each low-income baby born, set aside for the child to access between their 18th and 31st birthday.  These funds could pay for higher education, be the down-payment for housing, help finance a business, or pay for licensure for an occupation.

These funds would provide a new incentive for students who can see a more concrete path out of poverty to success.  WEA is proud to support the Washington Future Fund.

Advocating for Special Education Funding

WEA educators have sounded the alarm about the lack of funding to support our students with disabilities and now, with even more WEA-PAC education champions in Olympia, we’re poised to make the changes our students need. Here are two things we need to address in order to increase funding:

  • The cap is the maximum percentage of students that the state will fund for Special Education services, currently 13.5%.  More than 100 districts in the state are at the cap, meaning they have students who need Special Education supports but the state will not fund them because it exceeds the percentage cap.
  • The multiplier is the additional funding the state gives districts for each student with an IEP or 504 (up to that 13.5% cap): 1.0075 for K-12 students that spend 80%+ of their day in general education, 0.995 for K-12 students spending less than 80% of their day in gen ed.

WEA, along with our education advocate allies and OSPI are working together to increase special education funding.  We expect lawmakers will introduce several bills to improve Special Education funding and some are already in committee hearings, including SB 5311 on Thursday’s Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education agenda which raises the cap but doesn’t eliminate it.  Stay tuned for updates on actions you can take to support our students with disabilities.

Get the news as it happens…  Follow WEA Advocacy on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, plus subscribe to the Advocacy blog.

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