OLYMPIA – Seattle’s Frantz H. Coe Elementary School would receive $4 million for urgently needed capacity and safety upgrades under a supplemental construction budget that Senate Democrats proposed this week, according to Sen. Reuven Carlyle, D-Seattle.
“I’m proud to join my colleagues in seeking funding for Seattle Public Schools to address critical capacity needs at Coe Elementary and create better learning environments for staff and students,” Carlyle, one of six senators who requested the funding, said. “It’s a modest request, given the dire need and number of students served, but it’s an important investment in making Seattle a 21st-century city that will positively shape the future of our children.”
The funding is part of an overall budget proposing nearly $334.7 million in new funding for public schools, higher education, behavioral health and local community projects. It allocates $66.2 million statewide for K-12 school construction, including $51.3 million for the School Construction Assistance Program, $9 million for distressed schools and $6 million for rural school modernization.
Funds for Coe Elementary, which is located in Seattle’s Queen Anne Hill neighborhood, would go toward building an 11,560 square foot, three-story, six-classroom, special education and office addition, allowing class sizes to be reduced at all grade levels. Designed to house 475 students, Coe Elementary today houses 570. Class sizes exceed district targets at every grade level and overcrowding hinders teachers from meeting students’ learning and social-emotional needs.
Enrollment at Coe Elementary is not projected to decrease in the next decade, a reflection of the extraordinary recent growth of Seattle Public Schools (SPS), with 53,380 students currently enrolled. The district has grown more than any other in the state in the last 10 years and has struggled to find the physical space necessary to educate the additional students.
Five other Seattle-area senators joined Carlyle in requesting funds for Coe Elementary: Jamie Pederson, Sharon Nelson, Maralyn Chase, Rebecca Saldaña and Bob Hasegawa.
The proposed supplemental construction budget adds to investments in the $4.3 billion 2017-2018 capital budget that lawmakers approved in January. That included $20.1 million for distressed schools in Seattle, including $6.6 million to reopen Magnolia Elementary by 2019, one of Carlyle’s key priorities. It also included $6.7 million to add capacity at West Woodland Elementary School and another $1.9 million to do so at Loyal Heights Elementary.