Schoesler applauds Senate passage of bill helping small school districts

Sen. Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville, joined his Senate colleagues Monday in unanimously passing a bill that would authorize modernization grants for small school districts in Washington.

Second Substitute Senate Bill 5572 would establish a small school district modernization grant program for school districts and state and tribal compact schools that have 1,000 or fewer enrolled students.

Schoesler, whose 9th Legislative District includes many small school districts, said the grant program created by the bill would help them have access to needed resources so they can modernize or replace school buildings that are aging or in disrepair.

“In many cases, the most property-poor school districts are also the smallest, and passing a bond can be a challenge for them, especially since election-related costs hit small bonds disproportionately harder,” said Schoesler. “Many of these districts don’t have money on hand to make necessary repairs. This bill would go a long ways toward the maintenance and improvement of schools in our state’s smaller districts.”

Based on October 2017 enrollment data, 149 of the 295 school districts statewide have enrollments of 1,000 or fewer students.

Creating a small school district modernization grant program was the top recommendation by the Joint Legislative Task Force on Improving State Funding for School Construction.

The bipartisan bill has been sent to the House for further consideration.