Amended ECO board bill passes committee
A bill resetting the membership of a special education oversight board and establishing it in state statute started its journey forward in the legislature on Thursday (1/17).
Senate Education committee members unanimously passed Senate Bill 1, which establishes the Extraordinary Cost Oversight Board in state statute and amends membership.
The bill emanated from the legislative interim study on the Extraordinary Cost Fund and would establish Extraordinary Cost Oversight board – the group which approves or denies requests to access Extraordinary Cost Fund dollars – in statute and repeal its status from administrative rule.
SB 1 also amends membership to the seven-member ECO board to include one member of the legislature and six members – appointed by the Secretary of Education – from the following categories:
- The Department of Education;
- A district with an enrollment of 600 or more students;
- A district with an enrollment of between 200-599 students; and
- A district with an enrollment of 200 or fewer students.
Sen. Ryan Maher noted that rising special education costs are having a major effect on the special education budgets of schools, requiring more and more to request ECF dollars, and thus requiring the legislature to consider putting more state dollars into the fund.
“If this (cost) is going to escalate at the rate that it has been, we need to get some legislative oversight on that board,” Sen. Maher said, adding that the appointed legislator could “could relay back to the legislature” what districts are facing in terms of issues and costs.
ASBSD supports the bill.
“I’m all in favor of increased communication,” ASBSD Executive Director Wade Pogany testified, also noting that schools are having “to deal with increased costs” related to special education and the need for increased funding to special education is needed, making communication between schools and the legislature “essential.”
There was no opposition to SB 1, which now heads to the Senate floor for review.
For updates on this bill and other legislation, check the ASBSD Blog, Twitter feed, Facebook page and Bill Tracker.
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