Both House and Senate fiscal committees are hearing and scheduling the paraeducator bills in their respective committees. Last Tuesday, the Senate Ways and Means committee heard SB 5070 with only two people testifying; one opposed, one supported. I presented the pro position, WEA’s chief lobbyist, Lucinda Young provided the opposition testimony. I was pleased with the continued support of the State PTA, the League of Education Voters, Stand for Children, and the ARC of King County. Since this committee has already supported this bill the last two legislative sessions, I expect they will vote it out of committee next week.
Next week, the House Appropriations committee is hearing and voting on HB 1115. However, they will be voting on the amended version that severely weakens the original bill. Voluntary standards, voluntary training, and little state recognition for the critical instructional role paraeducators play, especially with students who need assistance to succeed in school, continues to be what our opposition prefer.