In 2015, the Washington Legislature provided $235 million in competitive grant funds to help school districts move forward with reducing class size for All Day Kindergarten and to reduce average K–3 class sizes to a 17:1 ratio. The grant provides funding for districts to build new K-3 classrooms and other teaching stations and can also be used to modernize existing classrooms or add permanent modular buildings.
Construction Services Group (CSG), a program of ESD 112 assisted 14 districts with gathering K-3 classroom data and submitting the grant applications. CSG is well known for its expertise in school construction, but perhaps lesser known are the group’s wide variety of pre-construction services that include communications planning and grant application assistance.
Tanya Boyer, Business Development Manager for CSG served as the project manager for the K-3 Grant submission. Boyer worked with CSG project managers and each district to gather data and calculate classroom usage. She updated classroom counts and usage in ICOS and then submitted the iGrants application for each district. WSU-EE validated the data, and this step required additional follow-up by Boyer to confirm specific classroom usage.
The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) using the 2015–16 school year enrollment data then estimated how many K-3 classrooms each district would need to provide additional K-3 space. Of the 14 districts CSG assisted, OSPI estimated they would need 113 additional classrooms to meet the current enrollment needs. Overall:
- 90 districts statewide successfully completed classroom data entry and a formal application
- 55 districts qualified for additional K-3 classrooms
- 21 districts were selected to receive the available funding
- 5 of the 14 districts CSG assisted qualified for the funding
The five districts that CSG assisted that qualified were awarded grant funding as follows:
- Pioneer School District – 3 classrooms, $343,987
- Chehalis School District – 7 classrooms, $ 1,142,777
- White River School District – 18 classrooms, $7,699,611
- Lake Stevens School District – 50 classrooms, $24,556,372
- Mount Vernon School District – 15 classrooms, $8,070,018
The grant funds are being used in conjunction with voter approved bond funding to complete construction projects over the next several years.