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What we won: 2024 legislative session

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WEA members were louder than ever this session and together we made a big impact. Now that we’ve all had a chance to breathe, let’s take a look back at our goals this session and see how we’ve made progress. We secured more than $100 million in additional funding for schools and colleges and made some important first steps for multi-year efforts. 

Let's compare the priorities in our 2024 legislative agenda with what we accomplished:

Professional, respectful wages for Education Support Professionals 

  • $72 million for paraeducator, office professional, and noninstructional paraprofessional staffing (SB 5882) While our goal was to increase wages this year, we were successful in increasing funding for ESPs. Districts can use these funds to increase staffing, prevent layoffs, or for increased salaries for paraeducators, office support, and noninstructional aides. 

Professional, respectful wages for adjunct faculty 

  • Increased access to Public Service Loan Forgiveness for adjunct faculty (HB 1950

  • Fully funded a 5.8% COLA for all public community and technical colleges 

Support students struggling with behavioral challenges 

  • Educated lawmakers on the need to improve Multi-Tiered Systems of Support 

  • Defeated a bill that would have restricted the use of room clears 

Fully fund Special Education 

  • Increased the Special Education funding cap from 15% to 16%, a $20 million budget increase (HB 2180

  • Stopped a bill that would have reduced time for Special Education evaluations and a bill that would have required educators to account for every 15 minutes a student spends receiving Special Education services 

Ensure every district has the resources it needs to recruit & retain educators 

  • Secured a 3.7% COLA increase for K-12 educators 

  • Added $1.8 million to the budget to smooth changes from the K-12 staff experience mix rebase. Districts that dropped 2% due to losing the experience factor in 2023-24 will receive 1% rather than 0 in 2024-25. 

  • Won $3.5 million for the teacher residency program and $621,000 for emergency substitute teacher support 

Ensure every school & college has the resources it needs to provide engaging learning opportunities 

  • Added $44 million to the supplemental budget for materials, supplies, and operating costs (MSOC)  

  • Protected schools from arbitrary book bans (HB 2331

  • Ensured students have access to inclusive materials (SB 5462

  • Increased per-square-foot allocation for the School Construction Assistance Program by 38% from $271 to $375 in the capitol budget 

  • Secured $45 million for indoor air quality and HVAC assessment, replacement, and upgrades 

Other progress we made 

  • 3% COLA for Plan 1 retirees (HB 1985

  • Added fentanyl awareness to the covered subjects in school health/PE (HB 1956

Slides: session debrief 

WEA President Larry Delaney, Government Relations Director Djibril Diop, and the expert WEA lobby team offered a debrief of the legislative session in a meeting on April 4, where they presented these slides.  

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