OLYMPIA – A bill sponsored by Sen. Jim Honeyford and signed by the governor back in April will help the state’s 150 smallest school districts pay for the modernization of their facilities. The new law took effect June 11.

“With the coronavirus-related restrictions halting most construction projects statewide and shutting down our schools, it is great to finally get some good news for our students,” explained Honeyford, R-Sunnyside. “This new law will allow our students who are in small districts that struggle to pass bonds and levies, but have buildings in desperate need of repair, to finally receive the help they deserve.

“When the students are permitted to return to school, hopefully a lot more rural students will get to return to a safer, healthier building.”

Second Substitute Senate Bill 5572, which passed the House 97-0 last month, after passing the Senate 46-1 on Feb. 12, will establish a small school district-modernization grant program for school districts and state/tribal compact schools that have 1000 or fewer enrolled students. Under Honeyford’s measure, the program will require that all projects eligible for modernization grants meet the requirements of the School Construction Assistance Program, except for estimated cost thresholds and local funding assistance percentages.

Senator Jim Honeyford and Shelly Short