21 Districts Receive Grants to Help Lower Class Sizes
OLYMPIA — June 7, 2016 — School districts will get help with overcrowded classes in lower grades, State Superintendent Randy Dorn announced today.
The K-3 Class Size Reduction Grants will provide nearly $234 million to 21 districts across the state. The money will be used by districts 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:
- Applicants with high necessary added-classrooms-to-available-classrooms ratio in kindergarten through third grades;
- Applicants with high student-to-teacher ratios in grades K-3;
- Applicants with high percentage of students eligible and enrolled in the
free and reduced-price meals program; and
- 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.
For more information
The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) is the primary agency charged with overseeing K–12 education in Washington state. Led by State School Superintendent Randy Dorn, OSPI works with the state’s 295 school districts and nine educational service districts to administer basic education programs and implement education reform on behalf of more than one million public school students.
OSPI provides equal access to all programs and services without discrimination based on sex, race, creed, religion, color, national origin, age, honorably discharged veteran or military status, sexual orientation, gender expression or identity, the presence of any sensory, mental, or physical disability, or the use of a trained dog guide or service animal by a person with a disability. Questions and complaints of alleged discrimination should be directed to the Equity and Civil Rights Director at (360) 725-6162 or P.O. Box 47200, Olympia, WA 98504-7200.
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