ESHB 2116

This analysis was prepared by non-partisan legislative staff for the use of legislative members in their deliberations. This analysis is not a part of the legislation nor does it constitute a statement of legislative intent.

As Reported by Senate Committee On:

Early Learning & K-12 Education, February 26, 2020

Title: An act relating to establishing a task force on improving institutional education programs and outcomes.

Brief Description: Establishing a task force on improving institutional education programs and outcomes.

Sponsors: House Committee on Education (originally sponsored by Representatives Callan, Eslick, Frame, Klippert, Blake, Ramos, Lovick, Davis, Doglio, Leavitt, Senn, Pollet and Santos).

Brief History: Passed House: 2/19/20, 98-0.

Committee Activity: Early Learning & K-12 Education: 2/26/20, 2/26/20 [DP-WM, w/oRec].

Brief Summary of Bill

  • Establishes a 15-member Task Force on Improving Institutional Education Programs and Outcomes.


Majority Report: Do pass and be referred to Committee on Ways & Means.

Signed by Senators Wellman, Chair; Wilson, C., Vice Chair; Holy, Hunt, McCoy, Mullet, Pedersen, Salomon and Wagoner.

Minority Report: That it be referred without recommendation.

Signed by Senator Hawkins, Ranking Member.

Staff: Alex Fairfortune (786-7416)

Background: The Legislature's statutory definition of “basic education” includes the educational programs for individuals under the age of 18 in juvenile detention centers and state institutions.  The education funding for these programs does not use the statutory prototypical school funding model.  Instead, five factors generate the funding amount:  student enrollment, the certificated instructional staff mix based on education and experience of the staff, staffing ratios, a 220-day school year instead of the regular 180-day school year, and the materials, supplies, and operating costs to support the program.

Summary of Bill: A 15-member Task Force on Improving Institutional Education Programs and Outcomes (Task Force) is established, with membership as follows:

Procedures to convene the task force by May 1, 2020, and elect chairs, are established. The task force must examine the following issues:

The Task Force, in completing its duties, must solicit and consider information and perspectives provided by the Department of Corrections and persons with relevant interest and expertise. Staff support must be provided by the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, with additional support provided by the Department of Children, Youth, and Families, and the Department of Corrections. Additional provisions regarding member reimbursement are established.

The Task Force must report its initial findings and recommendations to the Governor and the Legislature by December 1, 2020, and a final report to the same recipients by November 1, 2021. The final report may include recommendations for extending the duration of the task force.

Appropriation: None.

Fiscal Note: Available (Partial).

Creates Committee/Commission/Task Force that includes Legislative members: Yes.

Effective Date: The bill contains an emergency clause and takes effect immediately.

Staff Summary of Public Testimony: PRO: It has been over two decades at least since legislative attention has been given to K-12 in our juvenile justice institutions. Institutional education was left far behind in the McCleary lawsuit. School districts who must provide these services are working with limited resources and tools to teach our youth within the confines of their incarcerated environment. Policies implemented in our K-12 schools regarding trauma-informed and social-emotional learning have not been incorporated into our institutional facilities. We know through a Department of Social and Health Services report that we have an 85 percent drop-out rate from students in institutional education and we can have three to four districts touching youth through the process of their incarceration. That mobility of student records is causing great harm to students. The best guess is that 50 percent of those students are in need of an IEP. Every child will return to society and if they are further behind then when they went in, if they have been more traumatized, then we have failed our constitutional duty and have done harm, and can expect nothing less than to see these children back in our courts and our jails. One special education teacher that works at Green Hill has filed multiple complaints with OSPI because adequate special education is not being provided. Instead of rehabilitating these children, the institutions are just making the situation worse. Having the right people at the table will help build a pathway. This work is incredibly important and the need is urgent.

Persons Testifying: PRO: Representative Lisa Callan, Prime Sponsor; Lorrell Noahr, Washington Education Association; Steven Staaden, Special Education Teacher, Green Hill Academic School; Haley Lowe, Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Persons Signed In To Testify But Not Testifying: No one.