YAKIMA, Wash. -- Three Yakima Valley school districts will receive additional state money to build or add on to current buildings to reduce class sizes.
Wapato, Yakima and Toppenish have received a combined $16.2 million of the nearly $234 million made available in K-3 Class Size Reduction Grants, the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction announced Tuesday. The money will be used on capital construction projects across the state.
Twenty-one school districts were recipients, largely because of their high student-to-teacher ratios in grades K-3, high poverty rates, or no raised capital funds through levies or bonds in the past decade. Some of the grants had already been confirmed weeks or months prior to the announcement.
The bulk of the Yakima Valley money goes to Wapato and its new elementary school. In April, the district had announced it would receive one of the class size grants. The plans call for a 21-classroom building on district-owned land between Adams Elementary and Wapato Middle School. District officials were optimistic it could be built in time to open in the 2017-18 school year.
Meanwhile, the Yakima school board approved last week the $220,000 it would receive from the state for the installation and purchase of a modular building for Ridgeview Elementary.
And Toppenish School District will receive about $2.2 million for its own plans for class size reduction. In the previous November general election, the district failed to pass a bond measure that would have, in part, funded additional classrooms at Valley View Elementary.
Last year, the Legislature provided $200 million-plus in capital funds to help schools reduce class sizes and fund all-day kindergarten.