Washington State House Democrats


Robinson wins final OK for measure for detention-center students

It’s on to Gov. Jay Inslee’s desk for a school-accountability and government-efficiency measure sponsored by Rep. June Robinson to:

  • Improve education for at-risk youngsters.
  • Reduce costs for school districts.

Robinson’s proposal, House Bill 2276, would allow the state’s Educational Service Districts (ESDs) — including Northwest ESD No. 189 — to contract directly with a county for education services for students residing in a county’s detention center. Existing state law directs that such a contract must be drawn up between the ESD and specific local school districts and between the school districts and the county.

(NWESD No. 189 works with school districts in Snohomish County and with other counties in the northwestern part of the state.)

The Snohomish County lawmaker explained that her legislation “is aimed both at making sure services are provided more economically and at strengthening accountability for student-education for all of the involved families — as well as the education-system and county officials.”

Robinson added that “this bill won’t increase the financial cost of providing a good education for these youngsters. It will actually result in savings for school districts that are involved in this process.

“This is a simple bill, really, that is intended to clarify a piece of state law in this area,” she said.

“Certain judges have interpreted existing law to prohibit county contracts with ESDs for the education of students being held in detention centers. Our school systems have an obligation to meet the needs of all students, including students in detention centers. It’s just common sense that ESDs should be able to contract directly with a county to see to it that an education is provided for these young people.”

In the 2014 session of the Washington State Legislature, this Robinson measure unanimously passed both the state House of Representatives (twice) and the state Senate. The bill cleared the House the first time a month ago. Several weeks later, it passed the Senate. Today (3/10/2014), Robinson’s proposal won final legislative approval when the House OK’d some relatively minor Senate amending.