An agreement between Seattle Public Schools and the University of Washington's Experimental Education Unit (EEU), if approved, would keep the EEU's kindergarten program running and expand its services.

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Seattle Public Schools and the University of Washington’s Experimental Education Unit (EEU) may enter into a formal agreement to provide additional funding for the unit’s preschool and kindergarten programs and expand its services into other Seattle early-learning classrooms.

The EEU offers five blended programs, from birth through kindergarten, where Seattle students with disabilities learn alongside general-education students. The unit has served students with disabilities for more than 30 years and has been hailed by district officials as a successful, cost-effective program. Some students in EEU classrooms have been able to transition to Seattle’s general-education classrooms.

In late 2015, the district told EEU that it wouldn’t be contracting with them for kindergarten in the 2016-2017 school year, citing funding and compliance issues. Following an outcry from parents and teachers of EEU students, the two groups reached a tentative agreement in January that outlined a new structure for funding.

If approved, the agreement would formalize the tentative one, and keep the EEU’s kindergarten program running. It would provide education services for 18 kindergarten students with disabilities and up to 48 preschool students. There are 20 students in this year’s kindergarten program.

The agreement also would fund support and training so that EEU services can be replicated in other early-learning classrooms, though the agreement doesn’t specify how many classrooms will be involved.

And the agreement, which totals $1.19 million, would provide those services for special-education students ages 3 to 6. The unit’s staff would also hold workshops and allow district staff to observe EEU classrooms.

Back when the district said it would drop its contract with the EEU, district officials said the program had compliance issues because it used previously special education funds for general-education services, though EEU staff said that wasn’t true. The new agreement would meet both state and federal regulations, according to the school district.