Schoesler again offers bill to help school districts address maintenance needs

For the fifth straight year, 9th District Sen. Mark Schoesler has a measure before the Legislature that aims to help school districts in Washington address their building-maintenance needs.

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

“This bill would provide another path for school districts to handle building- or facility-maintenance needs,” said Schoesler, R-Ritzville. “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.

“School administrators have recognized the value of this proposal, and I’m optimistic that my colleagues in the Senate and House will agree and vote to approve it this year.”

The bipartisan proposal has been assigned to the Senate Early Learning and K-12 Education Committee for consideration.

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 floor calendar in both sessions before stalling.

Schoesler introduced a similar measure during the 2019 and 2020 sessions, but it was not passed by the Senate.