The K-3 Class Size Reduction Grants will provide nearly $234 million to 21 districts across the state. Pioneer’s grant is $343,987. The money will be used on capital projects to provide more classroom space and flexibility.
“Students deserve not only a quality education but also the best environment in which to learn,” Dorn said. “This means providing enough classroom space for students to be able to learn effectively, without bumping into each other. I’m pleased that the Legislature has provided this funding, but it’s just one of many steps needed for our school facilities to achieve our state’s paramount duty.”
The grants were the result of Second Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill 6080, passed in 2015. As outlined in the bill, districts had to certify a count and usage of all elementary school classrooms and teaching stations in OSPI’s Information and Condition of Schools (ICOS) system. Washington State University’s Extension Energy Program was then tasked with validating the data.
The grants were awarded to districts demonstrating the greatest need on four criteria in order of importance:
1. Applicants with high necessary added-classrooms-to-available-classrooms ratio in kindergarten through third grades;
2. Applicants with high student-to-teacher ratios in grades K-3;
3. Applicants with high percentage of students eligible and enrolled in the free and reduced-price meals program; and
4. Applicants that have not raised capital funds through levies or bonds in the prior ten-year period.
In the application process, districts certified that they have available sites, that they have authorized local funds, and that projects will achieve progress towards all-day kindergarten and average K-3 class size objectives for the 2017-18 school year (projects do not need to be complete by then).
Districts can also use funds to add K–3 classroom capacity by modernizing existing classrooms in previously closed buildings. Funds can be used for traditional-built and modular buildings but not for portables.