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Support paraeducators and amend 5179

WEA members are working hard to try and support E2SSB 5179 — if it is amended and the required professional development is also funded.

E2SSB 5179 sets up a paraeducator licensure board, requires a two year piloting program and requires paraeducators to become licensed within three years beginning with the 2017-18 school year. It also asks the community colleges to revamp their associate of arts programs to meet the new standards.

Unfortunately, the current version of the bill does not fund the cost of the classes paras may have to take, and it doesn’t actually direct anyone to develop the courses. That means it could be an unfunded mandate for school districts, or it could force paraeducators to pay for the courses out of their own pockets. Since paraeducators are some of the lowest paid K-12 employees, many will not be able to afford the courses and will lose their jobs.

WEA is lobbying for an amendment to E2SSB 5179 to address those issues. Without those changes, WEA cannot support the bill. Email your legislators and tell them to amend E2ESSB 5179 so that it provides funding and directs OSPI and educational service districts to develop the appropriate programs for paraeducators.