House Passes Pollet Bill Increasing Special Education Funding and Ending a Cap on How Many Children with Disabilities the State Supports

OLYMPIA— Washington’s school districts are spending over $500 million a year in local levy funds to provide Special Education programs because of inadequate state funding and a cap on how many children with disabilities in each district that receive funding from the state. 

Representative Gerry Pollet recently introduced legislation, House Bill 1436, to remove the cap on the number of children the State will fund for special education and disability services.   

“Washington has a constitutional obligation to fund every child’s education. Disability is not a choice. A cap on how many children with disabilities Washington funds is unconscionable,” said Rep. Pollet. “Currently, the state only funds 13.5% of the 15-18% of the student body with disabilities. It’s time we eliminated this cap to fund education for all.” 

HB 1436 addresses the many barriers special education programs face by removing funding caps over the next four years. This bill also allows school districts to apply to the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) for additional Special Education Funding beyond the State’s additional allocations.  

“House Bill 1436 is a major step forward for children with disabilities towards a fully funded and adequate education, and a major step forward for our school districts. This legislation includes the Superintendent of Public Instruction’s request to assist schools in supporting inclusionary teaching practices for our children,” continued Rep Pollet.  

Yesterday, House Bill 1436 passed the House of Representatives 94 to 2. The bill will now go to the Senate for Consideration.