BILL REQ. #:  S-1511.1 


State of Washington63rd Legislature2013 Regular Session

By Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education (originally sponsored by Senators Frockt, Litzow, Mullet, Kohl-Welles, Ranker, Dammeier, Harper, Darneille, Shin, Tom, Rolfes, and Kline)

READ FIRST TIME 02/18/13.   

     AN ACT Relating to a competitive grant program for informal science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education; and adding a new section to chapter 43.330 RCW.


NEW SECTION.  Sec. 1   A new section is added to chapter 43.330 RCW to read as follows:
     (1) The legislature finds that investing in institutions involved in providing early opportunities for informal science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education are key to engaging future generations in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics careers.
     (2) A competitive grant program to assist nonprofit organizations in acquiring, constructing, or rehabilitating science or technology center, zoo, and aquarium facilities is created. A facility for a science or technology center must be for an organization that meets the requirements to be a member of the association of science and technology centers. A facility for a zoo or aquarium must be an organization accredited by the association of zoos and aquariums. Qualifying organizations must provide school programs that supplement, complement, and support the essential academic learning requirements in RCW 28A.655.070.
     (3)(a) The department shall submit a list of recommended projects eligible for funding to the governor and the legislature in the department's biennial capital budget request beginning with the 2015-2017 biennium and thereafter.
     (b) The list, in priority order, must include a description of each project, the amount of recommended state funding, and documentation of nonstate funds to be used for the project. The total amount of recommended state funding for projects on a biennial project list may not exceed ten million dollars.
     (4) The department shall establish a competitive process to prioritize applications for state assistance as follows:
     (a) The department shall conduct a statewide solicitation of project applications from nonprofit organizations and local governments as determined by the department.
     (b) The department shall evaluate and rank applications in consultation with a citizen advisory committee using objective criteria. The evaluation and ranking process must also consider local community support for projects, a project timeline, and an examination of existing assets that applicants may apply to projects.
     (5) As needed for the purposes of subsection (4)(b) of this section, the department shall establish an advisory committee that includes:
     (a) A university faculty member specializing in science education;
     (b) A representative from a state science or technology industry;
     (c) A representative of the Washington tourism alliance; and
     (d) Representatives of pre-K and K-12 educators.
     (6) The department may establish the amount of state grant assistance for individual project applications but the amount may not exceed twenty percent of the estimated total capital cost or actual cost of a project or two million dollars, whichever is less. The remaining portions of the project capital cost must be a match from nonstate sources. The nonstate match may include cash, the value of real property when acquired solely for the purpose of the project, and in-kind contributions. The department may set matching requirements for individual projects.
     (7) State assistance may be used to fund separate definable phases of a project if the project demonstrates adequate progress and has secured the necessary match funding.
     (8) The department shall not sign contracts or otherwise financially obligate funds under this section until the legislature has approved a specific list of projects. In contracts for grants authorized under this section, the department must include provisions requiring that capital improvements be held by the grantee for a specified period of time appropriate to the amount of the grant and that facilities be used for the express purpose of the grant. If the grantee is found to be out of compliance with provisions of the contract, the grantee must repay to the state general fund the principal amount of the grant plus interest calculated at the rate of interest on state of Washington general obligation bonds issued most closely to the date of authorization of the grant.

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