OLYMPIA – Mead and other school districts in Washington would be allowed to extend the life of buildings they are replacing, using them to provide extra classrooms needed as class sizes shrink, under a proposal discussed Friday in a House committee.
The bill would address a rule connected to how the state decides which schools get money for new construction. If an old building is being replaced by a new structure, the classrooms in the old building are removed from the “educational space inventory” that decides how state money is spent for construction. Those rooms can’t be used for classrooms.
The legislation would allow school districts that need classrooms for all-day kindergarten or shrinking the number of students in kindergarten through third grade to use the old buildings without it counting against them for new school construction. But the buildings would still need to meet safety concerns.
Mead is replacing Northwood Middle School in the next 18 months, but would like to use the old building temporarily for kindergarten through third grade. Under questioning from bill sponsor Rep. Marcus Riccelli, D-Spokane, Mead Superintendent Tom Rockefeller said the old school still meets building codes and students would be safe and the costs wouldn’t be high.
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