Tag Archives: McCleary

Capital budget grants provide local schools with additional space

Three local school districts have been selected to receive funding aimed at making kindergarten through third-grade classrooms less crowded. The Wapato School District is slated to receive $13 million, the Toppenish School District was awarded $2.2 million and the Yakima School District picked up $220,451; the funds will primarily be used to build more classrooms.

“Over the past four years, the Legislature has made education its number one priority with almost half the state’s operating budget now going toward education funding. During the current biennium, the capital budget has directed nearly $1 billion dollars to enhancing that commitment,” said Sen. Jim Honeyford. “While the Legislature still has a lot of work to do on the education front, this is a great start and I’m glad many of our local schools are going to benefit.”  

In 2015, the Legislature passed Senate Bill 6080 that established the K-3 class-size reduction grants. Priority for grants went to districts with the highest percentage of free and reduced lunches and the most crowded K-3 classrooms. Other requirements included that the district had not raised capital funds through a levy or bond in the past 10 years.

Statewide, 21 school districts will receive grants totaling nearly $234 million. For those schools that need 10 or more new classrooms to meet lower student-to-teacher ratios, it is anticipated that a new school will be constructed. Those schools will receive additional funding to cover the cost of administrative offices, hallways and cafeterias. Those schools that needed fewer additional classrooms were classified as a remodel of an existing structure.

Revenue forecast shows $2 billion more

$2 billion moreOn Wednesday, March 20, the state Economic and Revenue Forecast Council announced we will have nearly two billion additional dollars for the 2013-15 operating budget. This news has been extremely well-received and has strengthened the resolve of the Majority Coalition Caucus to not raise your taxes. Despite reports to the contrary, we are close to reaching a budget compromise that will provide more funding for higher education as well as significantly fund K-12 education to comply with the Supreme Court’s McCleary decision.

Here in Olympia, the constant talk of budget cuts has all but evaporated, and we are able to start reprioritizing your tax dollars to focus on what matters most. Some pet programs may not receive the increases they would like, but we are no longer taking money away from vital programs and services. I’ll keep you posted on the progress of the 2013-15 budget as it is made public.

Click here to read the full Olympia Report for March 26, 2013.