Education Updates & Mini Town Hall Invite!

Dear friends and neighbors,  

The start of a new school year is upon us, and I’m delighted to see our students returning to the classrooms with energy and enthusiasm. As both a teacher in the Renton school district and a legislator, I am dedicated to advocating for policies that prioritize the well-being and success of our children. Quality education remains at the forefront of our efforts, and I’m committed to working towards enhancing educational opportunities for every student in our district. 

I am looking forward to meeting with you in person for the 11th Legislative District Mini Town Hall on Saturday, September 16th from 11 am-2 pm at Refuel Café. To learn more, including how to schedule a time to meet, click here:

Renton Promise Update

I am thrilled to provide an update on the Renton Promise, an opportunity that aims to shape the futures of our young graduates in the class of 2023. The core principles of the Renton Promise program reflect our commitment to accessibility and equality in education. It’s my firm belief that a student’s potential should never be limited by their GPA, income, ability, or country of birth. The Renton Promise program provides full tuition and fees to all 2023 Renton School District graduating seniors, allowing them to attend Renton Technical College for up to two years or until they earn their first associate degree, whichever comes first. 

To take advantage of this remarkable opportunity, students need to complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form or a Washington Application for State Financial Aid (WASFA). Our goal is to ensure that financial barriers do not hinder anyone from accessing higher education and reaching their full potential. WE HAVE HAD OVER 140 STUDENTS EXPRESS INTEREST IN ATTENDING, many still need to navigate the application process. Renton Technical College has staff available to help every step of the way! 

For any questions or inquiries regarding the Renton Promise program, I encourage you to reach out to the Renton Technical College Financial Aid Office or visit their website at This initiative was brought to life through the joint efforts of Renton Technical College, Renton School District, and my office, reflecting our shared commitment to empowering our graduates with the tools they need to succeed. 

Early Learning & ECEAP Expansion

Early Learning

I am delighted to share exciting news about the expansion of our Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP). Through the tireless efforts of our community and the Fair Start for Kids Act, as well as the continued support of enhanced childcare and early learning programs in previous budgets, we are steadfastly progressing towards the goal of offering universal access to ECEAP by 2027 for qualifying families. This year marks a significant stride in our journey as we allocate an additional $82 million to create more ECEAP slots and enhance reimbursement rates. 

Enrolling your child in the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP) can be a significant step toward ensuring their well-rounded development and future success. ECEAP, designed for children ages 3 to 5, provides free early learning childcare or preschool, family support, and health coordination to support your child’s growth and learning journey. 

To be eligible for ECEAP, your child should be between 3 and 5 years old as of August 31st of the school year. Children from families with income at or below 36% of the state median income (SMI) qualify, as do children in foster care and families with Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) grants. Additionally, children on Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) for special education, tribal children from federally recognized Washington State tribes with family income at or below 100% SMI, and those experiencing homelessness are also eligible. 

Once your child’s eligibility is confirmed, enrollment is prioritized based on available slots within your community. This fantastic opportunity not only prepares your child for a successful academic journey but also has long-lasting positive effects on their overall development, health, and future prospects. To explore this opportunity further or inquire about enrollment, please don’t hesitate to contact, or click this link for more information. Together, we can create a strong foundation for your child’s bright future. 

Special Education Funding

Ensuring that every child in our state receives a high-quality education that caters to their individual needs is a fundamental principle we hold dear. While some have advocated for education defunding, our leadership has championed increases in education funding that directly benefit our school districts. In light of declining enrollment, reduced federal funds post-pandemic, and the reliance on property taxes for school funding, our schools are grappling with budget cuts. To address these issues, we’ve taken significant steps to alleviate the constraints on our school budgets. 

One key area of focus is special education, where we have made an unprecedented increase of $417 million in funding. This boost not only marks the largest increase in special education funding since 2017, but it also reflects our unwavering commitment to ensuring that every student receives the education they deserve, regardless of their needs. House Democrats have enacted legislation that supports the recruitment and retention of teachers, particularly in the realm of special education, through initiatives like the teacher residency program and grants for special education endorsements. 

Our dedication to equity in education is evident through bills like HB 1436, which increases special education funding by adjusting the funding formula multiplier and raising the cap on students eligible for special education funding. This historic investment in special education services signifies our resolute commitment to fulfilling the paramount duty of fully funding public education, including the education of students with special needs. 

Our recently passed operating and capital budgets are a testament to our commitment to providing our students with the resources they need to succeed. By investing billions of new dollars in public education and enacting legislation that empowers students to showcase their readiness for graduation and enjoy nutritious meals, we are building a brighter future for every student in Washington. 

Mini Town Hall Invite

Mini Town Hall Invite

Join my 11th LD seatmate, Representative David Hackney, and I for a Mini Town Hall on Saturday, September 16th from 11 am-2 pm at Refuel Café (401 Olympia Ave NE Ste 102, Renton, WA). Please email my legislative assistant, Syd, at to sign up for a 15-minute time slot to chat with us between 11 am-2 pm Sign up to swing by, say hello, and enjoy a coffee on us! 

If you’d like to get in touch but can’t participate in the Mini Town Hall, please feel free to email me at

Thank you for your ongoing support and dedication to our community’s educational endeavors—and hope you had a wonderful summer! 


Bergquist signature

Rep. Steve Bergquist