Budget negotiators announced their final agreement last night, the day before the end of the session. Most of the major differences between the House and Senate budgets were ironed out previously so this final deal didn’t change any major issues. PSE had one additional measure we wanted the legislature to fund: $250,000 to develop paraeducator training modules. Good news is that the budget included that funding.
K 12 salary allocations will be fully funded in the 2018-19 school year at a cost of $776 million. The classified employee salary allocation will increase from $34,180 to $46,784.33 starting September 1, 2018. Normally, when there is an allocation increase, we get the same percentage increase to negotiate with our school districts. However, this 37% allocation increase does not mean we will get that full increase. In another bill, SB 6362, which hasn’t been voted on yet but must be voted upon before the end of the session, the legislature limits how much we can negotiate of the 37% increase. More on that after we see what the bill looks like.
Other details that didn’t change but are important to note:
On a final vote of 48-1 (Senator Hasegawa the only “no”), the Senate gave its final approval to SB 6388. It now only has one step to go; Governor Inslee’s signature. This fix-it bill gives paraeducators one additional year, until September 1, 2019, to meet the minimum employment requirements. It also gives school districts a full year to implement the training if the legislature funds the four day course of study for paraeducators in the 2019-21 budget.
PSE’s paraeducator fix-it bill, SB 6388, easily passed yesterday. Because there was a small change in the House education committee, the bill will have to go back to the Senate to get their approval of the change.
As a reminder, passage of this bill will give paraeducators one additional year, until September 1, 2019, to meet the minimum employment requirements.
After wading through numerous amendments last night, the House came close but didn’t vote on a final budget. However, the most significant amendment approved (because it cost nearly $1 billion) was moving the K 12 salary allocation forward by one year (instead of funding the allocation over the next two school years, the entire allocation will be in one school year). With that decision, the House is now in agreement with the Senate (and the Washington Supreme Court) that the salary allocation will begin September 1, 2018.
Once they vote on Monday, the House and Senate budget negotiators will work over the remaining days of the session to iron out their differences (one remaining difference important to us is PSE’s budget proviso for $250,000 for paraeducator training modules that is in the Senate budget but not the House budget).
On a narrow 25-23 vote, the Senate approved its Supplemental Operating Budget yesterday. Though there were a couple of amendments approved, none of them changed issues of interest to PSE. They fully funded the increased salary allocation starting September 1, 2018, provided an additional $20 million to implement SEBB (School Employee Benefit Board), and funded $250,000 for development of paraeducator training modules.
Once the House has completed its budget, the House and Senate budget negotiators will iron out the differences in their budgets.
PSE’s paraeducator “fix-it” bill, SB 6388, easily passed the House Education Committee this morning. As a reminder, this bill gives paraeducators another year to meet the minimum employment standards and gives school districts a full year to train paraeducators if the legislature funds the 4 day course in the 2019-21 budget.
Next step for this bill: a vote on the House floor.
Senate Ways and Means chair, Senator Christine Rolfes, just introduced her supplemental operating budget, SB 6032. In it she funded the one year earlier salary increase for K 12 as required by the Washington State Supreme Court, development of paraeducator training modules, and, fully funds the continued implementation of SEBB (School Employee Benefit Board).
As explained in an earlier entry, the Senate funds a significant increase in salary allocation (average 36.5% increase) to each school district for classified employees starting September 1, 2018. As explained in that entry, we are also limited in how much of that salary allocation increase we have access to in our 2018 negotiations.
On another subject, we asked for $500,000 for development of special education and ELL (English language learners) training modules but we got $250,000. This is a good start but we may need to come back next year for an enhancement to finish the job.
Finally, the Senate added an additional $20 million to the $8 million previously provided to the Health Care Authority (HCA) to implement SEBB.
Lynda Ford, Cheney School District paraeducator, is a PSE intern this week and is following a subject of interest to her. Here’s her report:
E2SSB6162 is a Senate bill that came to the Senate floor on Wednesday. This bill defines Dyslexia as a disability and now allows school districts to screen for Dyslexia and requires them to provide interventions and support for these students. This bill also directs OSPI to determine which screening tools are to be used. I am very excited about the unanimous passage of this bill. As para educators we all know and work with children with learning disabilities. I am hopeful this will give us more tools to help our children. Although E2SSB6162 has passed the Senate it now has to go to the House. Hopefully, it will be brought to the floor next week and voted on. I will definitely be following it closely and I hope you will too.
Earlier today, in a nearly unanimous 46-1 vote the Senate sent to the House SB 6388. Senator Mullet, bill sponsor and staunch PSE supporter, has been a strong advocate for paraeducators as we worked together to improve upon the paraeducator bill approved last year. 6388 gives paraeducators one additional year to meet minimum qualification standards, gives school districts an additional year to train paraeducators (if the 4 day course is funded next year), and refines the pathways to teacher certification if the paraeducator wants to become a teacher.
We continue to work with Senator Mullet and Senate Ways and Means Committee chair, Senator Rolfes, on a budget proviso to provide $500,000 for the development of special education and TBIP (Transitional Bilingual Instruction Program) training modules. Here is the proviso we are working on:
The sum of five hundred thousand dollars, or as much thereof as may be necessary, is appropriated for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2019, from the general fund to the state of Washington professional educator standards board to provide overall oversight and procure or develop professional development for specialty certificates and align courses with general certificate professional development, including any necessary changes or edits to general certificate online modules.
The House strongly voted to support a study of the use of paraeducators in the TBIP (Transitional Bilingual Instruction Program). HB 2590, sponsored by Representative Lillian Ortiz-Self, requires schools to report how many teacher vacancies there are, how many paraeducators are filling in for teachers, and the training of paraeducators by school districts. Further, there is additional reporting from community and technical colleges what they are doing to train TBIP paraeducators.
PSE supports the legislation in the hopes it will shine a light on the need for the State and school districts to better support the instructional role paraeducators play with students who need additional help to succeed in school.