A school funding bill sponsored by state Rep. Joel McEntire, R-Cathlamet, was passed unanimously by the House Capital Budget Committee last Monday ahead of a key committee deadline.
"This is an important piece of legislation for our small schools in need of capital funding assistance. There continues to be strong bipartisan support to address this critical issue as reflected by the unanimous vote in committee," McEntire said. "However, there is still a lot of work to do to ensure we get this passed into law. I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to make it happen."
The bill, HB 1044, would create a need-based grant program for small school districts. School districts would be given a score based on a set of criteria with grant funds then going to the district’s whose scores reflect the greatest need.
To be eligible for grant funding, projects would be required to correct physical deficiencies or essential safety concerns. That requirement would include modernizing, repairing, reconfiguring or replacing existing buildings and the construction of new buildings.
"Districts who struggle passing bond measures or lack bond capacity would benefit from this legislation. We also have several schools that have structural deficiencies or safety concerns with their infrastructure that could access capital funding under this bill," said McEntire. "This legislation is about providing a quality learning environment for students no matter what their zip code is in Washington state."
The bill is now in the House Rules Committee waiting to be pulled to the floor for a vote of the full state House.
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