Roots of Inclusion, a non-profit organization founded by Sarah Butcher and Jennifer Karls, is sharing information related to policy work in Washington state focused on students with disabilities.
Here’s a Call to Action they issued related to special education funding at the federal level.
OSPI Application for IDEA Funds
The WA State Office of The Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) submits an annual application for federal IDEA funds. This year’s application has been posted and is available for public review and comment. We are sharing information about the process so that you can provide your feedback.
The final application will be submitted to the US Department Of Education Office of Special Education Programs by May 17, 2019. We are still in the midst of the 2019 legislative session and the Legislature has not made a decision regarding the use of IDEA funds in Safety Net awards. Because that decision is still in flux, OSPI has posted two budgets with the applications—one budget including federal funding in Safety Net as a state level activity and one budget excluding the use of federal funds for Safety Net. Should the Legislature reach a decision prior to the filing date, OSPI will update the budget accordingly.
Historically Washington has used Federal IDEA funds in its Safety Net Awards and that has had negative consequences to our schools and districts. By removing IDEA funds from Safety Net our Local Education Agencies will be able to access Safety Net awards at a lower threshold, and our State Education Agency (OSPI) will have some funds available to build out a more substantial program of technical assistance. Technical assistance is critically important in supporting Local Education Agencies and their schools to shift practices and improve outcomes for students with disabilities. Washington State has long focused their technical assistance on compliance indicators, and less on indicators tied to improving student outcomes. Your voice and your action on this issue can make an impact and ensure Washington schools are better supported in meeting the needs of their students with disabilities.
There are two ways you can engage on this important issue. You can testify in person at a public hearing, or you can submit a written statement. Here are the details for both options:
An in-person public hearing will be held on April 16th from 3 to 4 p.m. at North Central Educational Service District #171, 430 Olds Station Road, Wenatchee, The hearing will be held in the Ponderosa Room on the second floor. The hearing will conclude once all testimony has been heard. Those intending to testify should arrive by 3 p.m.
A zoom meeting has been scheduled on April 19th from 11 a.m. to Noon. To join the zoom meeting:
- PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android Zoom Link
- iPhone one-tap:
- US: +16699006833,,643155943# or +16465588656,,643155943#
Telephone: Dial (for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location):
- US: +1 669 900 6833 or +1 646 558 8656
- Meeting ID: 643 155 943
To submit your comments in writing, email [email protected], fax to 360- 586-0247, or mail to the Special Education Office, OSPI, PO Box 47200, Olympia, WA 98504-7200. When submitting your written comments, please insert in the subject line, “WA Part B Annual State Special Education Application, Public Comments.”
Here is a sample statement that you can use or base your comments on:
I am writing to express my support for the WA Part B Annual State Special Education Application that excludes the use of federal funds for Safety Net. Education is the foundation upon which individuals build their lives. Sadly, in Washington far too many students with disabilities are not reaching their full human potential. Our system is not meeting students’ needs and that has lifelong impact. If we are to see significant growth in outcomes for students with disabilities, OSPI will need to provide technical assistance to our Local Education Agencies and Schools to improve instruction, implement inclusive practices, strengthen family engagement and improve the overall culture of belonging and learning in every school across our state.
Thank you for developing an application that recognizes the need for OSPI to build a robust system of technical assistance to support the Local Education Agencies in our State. We must build capacity if we are to achieve the systemic change needed to meet the goal of Washington’s public education system: To prepare everystudent for post-secondary aspirations, careers, and life.
Here are the links to review the applications:
For more information you can review the notice on OSPIs website: http://www.k12.wa.us/SpecialEd/Rulemaking.aspx#
Thank you for your continued advocacy and for taking action!
Sarah Butcher and Jennifer Karls
Roots of Inclusion