Thank you for emphasizing the insufficient funding for special education in your editorial “State budget must ensure improved school outcomes.”
Both House and Senate budgets fail to address the state Supreme Court’s mandate to fully fund basic education by overlooking the need to significantly boost special-education funding by at least $366 million. Local school districts will not be able to fund special-education gaps with local levy dollars any longer.
Legislators also have ignored an opportunity to close state institutions for people with developmental disabilities in favor of pouring millions more into Fircrest and Rainier. The combined budgets add $21 million to state institutions serving 700 people statewide and only added $5.5 million to the community to support 44,300 people living with their families or in community residential settings. This is happening while there are 12,500 people waiting for the Legislature to fund services and a waitlist that grows an average of 700 people statewide per month.
The state Legislature has reformed the aging, children’s, foster-care and mental-health systems. When will our family members with developmental disabilities get their turn? If not when state coffers are overflowing, when?
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Becky Bisbee, Bellevue