With a whopping $20.8 million grant, the Central Valley School District has added two new schools to its lineup of major construction projects.
The grant, from the state Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, will work in conjunction with a $121.9 million bond that voters approved in 2015. The school district already planned to build a new elementary school and expand five others; now it’s adding a new North Pines Middle School and a new elementary school at Mission Avenue and Long Road.
“We’re just so thankful that our voters voted to approve our bond in 2015,” said superintendent Ben Small. “That bond really put us in a position to apply for this grant.”
Central Valley spokeswoman Marla Nunberg Genther said the grant amount is “pretty unheard of” and increases the district’s capital budget by 25 percent.
The grant is part of an effort to reduce class sizes in kindergarten through third grade to just 17 kids by the 2017-18 school year – a response to the hotly contested 2012 McCleary decision by the state Supreme Court.
The state superintendent’s office announced last week that 19 school districts would receive grants totaling about $234 million. Only four won bigger than Central Valley. The Kennewick School District was awarded the biggest share – more than $51 million.
The West Valley School District plans to use its $523,000 grant to remodel the Millwood School to house kindergartners. The Pullman School District won more than $7 million.
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