By Angela Smith, HEAL Coordinator
I-1351 is a deceptive and misleading bill that funds staff to rubber stamp institutionalizing youth in fraudulent and abusive residential programs while claiming to "reduce class size". The reduction in class size does not come from hiring more teachers and building more classrooms. It comes from taking poor and minority students out of their homes and communities and placing them in private detention centers.
While the arguments for and explanatory statement mislead voters, the bill itself is quite clear on this point, it says:
"Except as required for class size reduction funding provided under subsection (4)(f) of this section and as may be required under chapter 28A.155, 28A.165, 28A.180, or 28A.185 RCW, or federal laws and regulations, nothing in this section requires school districts to use basic education instructional funds to implement a particular instructional approach or service. Nothing in this section requires school districts to maintain a particular classroom teacher-to-student ratio or other staff-to-student ratio or to use allocated funds to pay for particular types or classifications of staff." Source: http://sos.wa.gov/_assets/elections/initiatives/FinalText_578.pdf
If you read the entire bill, the money is not going to hire more educators or improve school buildings. It is going to hire social workers, parent coordinators, and counselors. It clearly states that allocations for Special Education are not to be used in the district and/or are not required to be used by individual districts to hire proper special education support staff to work in the district, but, to cover outside placement costs for students they wish to deny a proper public education.
The above portion of the bill is omitted from most public "complete texts of the bill". Spokane and Tacoma are the two worst offending school districts in Washington State for using aversive and abusive behavior management techniques. And, those are the ones behind this initiative. They stand to lose millions of dollars in kickbacks from fraudulent and abusive private detention centers if the current laws hold to prevent this gross misuse of Washington resources and horrific abuse of Washington families.
This initiative is an attempt to overturn legislation that was signed into law in July, 2014 to protect all Washington school children from the abusive misuse of IEPs.
Please vote no on I-1351 and tell everyone you know to do the same.