Legislature OKs Schoesler bill to help school districts address maintenance needs

A bill introduced by 9th District Sen. Mark Schoesler that aims to help school districts in Washington address their building-maintenance needs is heading to the governor’s desk after being passed by the Legislature.

Senate Bill 5403 would allow school districts to create a “depreciation subfund” that can receive a transfer of up to 2% of a school district’s general fund each fiscal year.

“It’s good to see this bill finally get through the Legislature,” said Schoesler, R-Ritzville. “It provides another way for school districts to handle building- or facility-maintenance needs. Sometimes it can be better for a school district to pay cash for a building repair or to set aside money for emergencies when they arise. Establishing this subfund, which is voluntary, is a way to help students learn in a healthy environment since school buildings would be in better condition.”

The Senate unanimously passed SB 5403 in March. After the House added a floor amendment and then approved the altered proposal on an 89-8 vote on April 12, the Senate today voted 48-0 to concur (or agree) with the House’s amended version. The House floor amendment would make the bill applicable only to school districts with fewer than 2,000 students.

During the 2021 and 2022 legislative sessions, the Senate twice easily passed an earlier version of Schoesler’s bill. Senate Bill 5202 reached the House Rules Committee and was placed on the House voting calendar in both sessions before stalling.