February 8, 2024
Nate Crippes / Public Affairs Supervising Attorney
Andrew Riggle / Public Policy Advocate
(801) 363-1347 / (800) 662-9080
We are here to speak against HB 347. We appreciate the concerns laid out by Rep. Ward. However, this bill will make it difficult for schools to comply with the language in this bill and its potential conflict with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act or IDEA. The IDEA has provisions to help with these situations, including on how to change placement of a student and when discipline is appropriate. Unfortunately, lack of funding and support for special education in our state leaves students with disabilities without the support they need to thrive.
The solution to this problem is not unnecessary and costly litigation, but that is what this bill will lead to. Leaving this issue to the courts, particularly with the lack of clarity in the bill and the clear precedent of federal law, will likely cause school districts to divert further funding from providing support to students.
Rather, the solution to this problem is to provide better funding for special education, things like paying paraeducators a living wage, to ensure that students with disabilities have the supports they need. We urge you to oppose this bill and to instead look at what we can do to better support students with disabilities in Utah.