The Superintendent of Public Instruction recently announced 21 grant recipients for class-size reduction funds available as a result of legislation supported by Sen. Barbara Bailey, R-Oak Harbor. Mount Vernon School District is slated to receive more than $8 million to expand classroom space and is planning to build two new elementary schools.
“I am so pleased that Mount Vernon School District will have access to these resources to help improve outcomes for students,” Bailey said. “Even after investing more than 4.5 billion dollars in our state’s public education system, we cannot achieve our goal of expanding all-day kindergarten and lowering K-3 class sizes by the 2017-18 school year if we don’t also invest in the facilities that schools need.”
The grants were made possible by passage of Senate Bill 6080, which provides financing to local school districts, aimed at reducing class sizes in kindergarten through third grade – the grades where research indicates the reduction in student to teacher ratios has the most effect on student achievement.
“This grant, in combination with recently passed construction bond, will help us make significant progress toward reducing class size in kindergarten through third grade with two new elementary schools,” said Carl Bruner, Mount Vernon School District Superintendent. “It is a tremendous value add for the district in terms of creating additional space that we would otherwise not have been able to do.”
Mount Vernon School District obtained the grant through OSPI after a rigorous application process that required certification of available sites, local funding and identification of class-size reduction projects.
In addition to investing in facilities, the state’s 2016 supplemental budget added $7 million to retain and recruit K-12 staff and support new teachers.