OLYMIPA — Sen. Claire Wilson’s (D-Auburn) legislation to regulate authorized entities serving Washington students with disabilities was signed into law by Gov. Jay Inslee Thursday.  

An investigation by the Seattle Times and ProPublica found Washington was giving millions of dollars to these private schools (previously referred to as non-public agencies) without proper oversight. The investigation unearthed complaints of abuse, lack of academic progress, as well as staff dependency on restraint and isolation.  

Senate Bill 5315 will make immediate changes to establish clear approval processes for these authorized entities. This will require on-site, pre-approval visits by the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.  

SB 5315 also requires OSPI to develop a complaint process, so parents can report noncompliance and violations of students’ rights. Additionally, OSPI will hold school districts and authorized entities accountable for informing parents about their student’s rights and the new complaint process.  

“This legislation will bring critical and long overdue reform,” Wilson said. “Staff need our support, and we must take every step we can to ensure that our must vulnerable students are safe at school.”