SB 5702

This analysis was prepared by non-partisan legislative staff for the use of legislative members in their deliberations. This analysis is not a part of the legislation nor does it constitute a statement of legislative intent.

As of February 20, 2017

Title: An act relating to improving state funding for school construction, modernization, and asset preservation.

Brief Description: Improving state funding for school construction, modernization, and asset preservation.

Sponsors: Senators Keiser, Honeyford, Frockt and Pedersen.

Brief History:

Committee Activity: Ways & Means: 2/16/17.

Brief Summary of Bill

  • Expands the role and membership of the School Facilities Citizens Advisory Committee.

  • Establishes five components of the school construction assistance program.

  • Changes the kindergarten through third grade (K-3) class size reduction grant program to exclude from the classroom count portables installed after 1989.

  • Allow districts that applied but did not receive a 2015-17 grant to be considered for a future grant by updating their grant application,

  • Extends the grant program from 2017 to 2021.

  • Establishes a joint legislative task force on improving state funding for school construction.


Staff: Richard Ramsey (786-7412)

Background: The school construction assistance program (SCAP), administered by the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI), provides school districts with financial assistance to expand and modernize school facilities. The amount of financial assistance is based on a formula that considers the amount of square feet needed for the number of students in elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools; multiplied by an assumed cost per square foot for construction; multiplied by a state fund matching rate. The SCAP match rate depends on the relative value of assessed property in the district per student. SCAP only funds permanent school buildings, not portables.

The state Constitution authorizes school districts to issue bonds for the purpose of constructing schools. Schools are owned, designed, constructed, and maintained by local school districts. Authorization of general obligation bonds require a 60 percent majority vote.

The Legislature enacted class-size reduction goals to reach one teacher to seventeen students in K–3 by the 2017-18 school year. In 2015, via 2ESSB 6080 (Chapter 41, Laws of 2015, 3rd Special Session), the Legislature created a K-3 class-size reduction classroom grant program to help school districts expand the number of classrooms in support of the K–3 class-size reduction objective. OSPI administers the program which provides awards for modular classrooms and new schools.

Summary of Bill: The School Facilities Citizens Advisory Committee (Committee) is expanded to include modernization. The Committee is to advise the Governor and the Legislature, in addition to the Superintendent of Public Instruction. Committee membership includes:

The Committee may convene technical advisory work groups with expertise in school facilities. OSPI will provide administrative and technical support to the Committee. The Committee must prepare a biennial report to the Governor and the Legislature that summarizes the condition of Washington public schools and recent school construction activities. The report must be based on the inventory and condition of schools (ICOS) system. The report on recent school construction activities must include an analysis of school construction costs; the February 2017 ESD 112 K-2 capital facilities cost study will serve as a key consideration and reference for the Committee report. The report must be submitted by September 1st in even-numbered years.

The proposes of SCAP are expanded from modernization and enrollment growth to five program components to include:

Changes to the K-3 class size reduction grant program are made and include:

A joint legislative taskforce (taskforce) on improving state funding for school construction is established. The taskforce is to recommend to the Legislation specific formula enhancements and funding for the five SCAP program components. The taskforce is established on July 1, 2018, and is to report its findings to the appropriate committees of the Legislature by December 1, 2018. It consists of eight legislators. The House of Representatives Office of Program Research and Senate Committee Services will provide staff support. OSPI and the Office of Financial Management must cooperate with the taskforce and maintain liaison representatives.

Appropriation: None.

Fiscal Note: Available.

Creates Committee/Commission/Task Force that includes Legislative members: Yes.

Effective Date: The bill contains an emergency clause and takes effect on July 1, 2017. The changes to the K-3 class-size reduction grant program take effect, June 30, 2017. The Legislative task force is established on July 1, 2018.

Staff Summary of Public Testimony: PRO: SCAP is the single largest appropriation in the capital budget. This reform emphasizes preservation and renewal. High growth districts and small rural districts deserve special attention. The bill contains good changes to the K-3 class-size reduction grants. While these are not the system-wide changes we've sought, this bill represents a significant step. We support the intent of the bill and support the changes to the K-3 grant program. The SCAP square foot allowances were adopted in 1979; they and the construction costs should be updated to reflect actual practices by school districts. We support the small rural school grants, emphasis on facility preservation, the changes to K-3 grants, and the expedited process.

Persons Testifying: PRO: Senator Karen Keiser, Prime Sponsor, Jim Kowalkowski, Eastern Washington Quality Schools Coalition/Davenport School District; Clifford Traisman, Highline Public Schools/Seattle Public Schools; Lorrell Noahr, WA Washington Education Association; Casey Moore, Director of School Facilities, OSPI; Jessica Vavrus, WA State School Directors' Association; Mitch Denning, Alliance of Educational Associations.

Persons Signed In To Testify But Not Testifying: No one.