OLYMPIA – Public schools across Washington will be able to put more paraeducators in classrooms to better meet student needs, under legislation signed into law today.

SB 5882 increases the staff allocation for paraeducators in the prototypical school funding model, unlocking dollars that schools can use to increase staffing, prevent layoffs, or raise salaries for paraeducators and some other support staff. The legislation is funded with $72 million in the state’s general fund in the 2024 supplemental operating budget.

“Paraeducators are crucial in our public education system,” said Sen. Derek Stanford (D-Bothell), the bill’s prime sponsor. “Paraeducators help students overcome barriers to education — whether from learning gaps, pandemic learning loss, or special needs. They provide important one-on-one and small group instruction that tailors education to each student. I want all our students to have more of this support to help them succeed and excel.”

Many school districts are currently facing cuts, said Stanford, and this bill would provide funding to help solve problems while focusing on student needs, as recommended by the Staffing Enrichment Work Group.

The bill goes into effect June 6.