OLYMPIA – Lawmakers in Olympia passed a long-overdue $4.2 billion capital budget last night, funding vital infrastructure projects around the state like public schools, colleges and universities, parks, and environmental projects.
This budget includes a record $1 billion for public schools, which will help the state’s 295 local school districts achieve the state’s K-3 class size reduction goals.
Lawmakers from the 36th Legislative District welcomed the budget’s passage.
“I’m proud to have joined my colleagues in passing a capital budget that will reinvest in the future of Washington, improve our communities and elevate our overall quality of life,” Sen. Reuven Carlyle said. “I’m particularly pleased by the historic level of funding devoted to invaluable school construction projects, such as the reopening of Magnolia Elementary in 2019, that will build a better Washington for our children and continue to make the 36th Legislative District a great place to live and work.”
Carlyle, who added that he has made the reopening of Magnolia Elementary a “big priority,” has worked diligently in recent years to secure millions of dollars in funding for the project.
Rep. Gael Tarleton also applauded the budget’s approval.
“Our constituents did a great job keeping the pressure on lawmakers, reminding us that housing, parks, schools, and fish passage projects must move forward,” Tarleton said. “We heard you – we got the capital budget passed. And now these much-needed community investments can get started.”
Her colleague, Rep. Noel Frame, made similar remarks.
“It was long past time for this critical construction budget to pass, but I’m glad that these projects can now move forward,” Frame said. “With this budget, we made historical investments in affordable housing, community behavioral health, and education, as well as funding important projects in our local community. These investments will put people to work, grow our economy, and enrich the quality of life in communities across the state.”
The budget approved includes $20.1 million in funding for distressed schools across Seattle. Seattle Public Schools has indicated that $6.7 million in distressed school funds will go toward adding 10 classrooms to West Woodland Elementary School.
Magnolia Elementary, a historic landmark that has been closed since 2007, is set to receive a total of $6.6 million, including $4.3 million as a distressed school and $2.3 million from the School Construction Assistance Program (SCAP). That complements $30.4 million in local funding for Magnolia’s reopening that was raised in part by the $475.3 million BTA IV Capital Levy that Seattle voters approved in February 2016.
Similarly, Loyal Heights Elementary is set to receive $1.9 million in SCAP funds, complementing $39.2 million in local funding.
The capital budget also funds a number of local and community projects in the 36th Legislative District, as well as arts programs, including:
- $1.9 million for the Seattle Opera, including The Seattle Opera at the Center, a space where students and visitors can view technical and artistic trades and participate in hands-on workshops;
- $258,000 for the Seattle Repertory Theatre for renovations to its PONCHO forum, which hosts audience engagement programs and youth arts education workshops, and serves as a rehearsal hall for mainstage productions;
- $900,000 for the Interbay Public Development Advisory Committee to explore redevelopment options at Fort Lawton;
- $400,000 for the Seattle Aquarium to update existing facilities and add the Ocean Pavilion to better serve visitors;
- $167,000 for the Millionair Club Charity Kitchen, which doubles as a job-training program; and
- $30,000 for the renewal of the historic Yamasaki courtyard at the Pacific Science Center.
Click here for a complete list of state capital budget projects (sorted by legislative district).
The state construction budget, which is traditionally a strong bipartisan policy, was blocked by Republicans during the 2017 legislative session over a dispute regarding unrelated water legislation. That year marked the first time in state history lawmakers adjourned for the year without passing a biennial capital budget.