OLYMPIA – Public schools across Washington would be able to have more paraeducators in schools to better meet student needs, under legislation passed by the House Thursday on an overwhelming bipartisan vote.

SB 5882 would increase the staff allocation for paraeducators in the prototypical school funding model.

“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.

Having been amended in the House, the bill now returns to the Senate for concurrence.