McEntire legislation to assist small schools with capital finances scheduled for public hearing

Legislation that could provide assistance to small school districts in need of capital funding is scheduled for a public hearing in the House Capital Budget Committee on Tuesday, Jan. 18, at 1:30 p.m.

House Bill 1775, sponsored by Rep. Joel McEntire, would provide funding for small school districts through a grant process based on need.

“In our region and across Washington state, there are small school districts struggling or unable to access state funding for construction. The model we have now allows some communities easier access for construction of quality school buildings than other communities that have consistently failed to pass construction bonds,” said McEntire, R-Cathlamet. “This legislation puts a process in place where school districts would receive a score based on certain criteria. Grant dollars would then go to the district whose score reflects the greatest need.”

Projects eligible for grant funding include modernizing, repairing, reconfiguring, or replacing existing buildings and construction of new buildings. The projects must address critical physical deficiencies or essential safety concerns.

“Some districts lack bond capacity, others have difficulty passing bond measures. This is an opportunity to help schools who are in desperate need of capital funding,” said McEntire. “We want to make sure all students across Washington state have an equitable learning environment regardless of where they live.”

The idea was brought to McEntire by a constituent.

“I have heard the best ideas for legislation come from constituents and this is a good example of that,” said McEntire. “I am pleased by the bipartisan support and look forward to the public hearing.”

Citizens who wish to testify online remotely or submit written testimony can do so on a special page of the Legislature's website, “Participating in Committee Hearings.” It can be found at: https://leg.wa.gov/legislature/Pages/Participating.aspx.

Those who also wish to provide written comments on the bill directly to representatives in their legislative district may go here: https://app.leg.wa.gov/pbc/bill/1775

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Washington State House Republican Communications
houserepublicans.wa.gov