House Bill 704
PETITION IN SUPPORT OF PA HOUSE BILL 704
FOR SPECIAL EDUCATION FUNDING AND ACCOUNTABILITY REFORMS
Please enter your name at the bottom to sign this petition. The House passed the bill by a vote of 173 to 25 on June 23. The Senate will now consider the bill. See the links to the right for more information.
WHEREAS, the State of Pennsylvania and local school districts have a duty to provide the supports and services needed by children with disabilities to succeed in school.
WHEREAS, students with disabilities are struggling in most Pennsylvania schools and need special education reforms to have a fair chance for success in school and in life.
WHEREAS, Pennsylvania’s special education funding and accountability systems are broken. The broken systems contribute to the poor quality of education and the high unemployment rate after leaving school for the 270,000 students receiving special education services.
WHEREAS, the broken special education system also affects financially strapped school districts and contributes to property tax increases. The state pays only 32% of total special education costs. State funding since 2003 has not kept pace with inflation or the increased number of students with disabilities.
WHEREAS, the Pennsylvania Department of Education collects three-year special education plans from all school districts but real accountability is lacking.
WHEREAS, special education was left out when the General Assembly enacted reforms for Basic Education in 2008.
WHEREAS, House Bill 704 will fix the state systems for special education funding and accountability. The bill provides a needs-based formula for special education for the first time in years, with funding remaining at 2008-09 levels until the economy recovers. The bill also strengthens the accountability system so that schools will more effectively invest state resources and improve outcomes for students.
WHEREAS, HB 704 has 66 bi-partisan cosponsors, was approved by a vote of 22 to 3 by the House Education Committee, and was approved by a vote of 173 to 25 by the whole State House of Representatives.
WHEREAS, The Arc of Pennsylvania, the Disability Rights Network of Pennsylvania, the Education Law Center, Good Schools Pennsylvania, and nearly 40 organizations have endorsed HB 704.
WHEREAS, children with disabilities, all children, and all communities throughout Pennsylvania will benefit from the prompt passage of HB 704.
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the following students, parents, educators, advocates, community leaders, and others have signed this petition to show strong support for House Bill 704. We thank the Pennsylvania House of Representatives for passing HB 704 and we ask the Senate to promptly act and approve the bill before the end of the year.
Check the petition blog for action steps and talking points, and visit http://reformspecialedfunding.org/ to see details and background on HB704, including a list of endorsing groups and media coverage on the legislation.