Rep. Bob McCaslin testifies on school siting bill in House Environment Committee

Rep. Bob McCaslin, R-Spokane Valley, appeared before the House Environment Committee Thursday morning to testify on his bill to exempt school construction from certain Growth Management Act (GMA) restrictions. House Bill 1017, which has 27 cosponsors and broad bipartisan support, would allow for the building of schools and school facilities in all land-use zones, including rural lands.

Due to existing GMA restrictions, school districts have been prevented from building new schools outside of designated urban growth areas. McCaslin says that needs to change in order for school districts to better serve students, teachers and communities.

“Rather than being governed by an arbitrary urban growth area that often has no bearing or correlation to school district boundaries, we need to build schools where our students actually live,” said McCaslin. “Taxpayers need to know their hard-earned dollars are not being wasted because of a one-size-fits-all approach to growth.”

McCaslin's bill would return control to school districts to work with local authorities to permit the building of new schools and school facilities. Currently, 28 school districts have school construction projects that have not been allowed to move forward.

“We all want smaller class sizes for our students and teachers, but that simply will not happen unless we build more schools,” said McCaslin. “I am thankful for the broad bipartisan support this bill has received, and look forward to continuing to advocate for a comprehensive statewide solution to a problem that has affected many of our communities.”

The 2017 legislative session began Monday and is scheduled to run 105 consecutive days.

Rep. McCaslin testifying in the House Environment Committee on HB 1017, which addresses the siting of schools and school facilities; January 12, 2017PHOTO CAPTION: Rep. Bob McCaslin testifies on House Bill 1017 in the House Environment Committee Thursday, Jan. 12.

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Washington State House Republican Communications
houserepublicans.wa.gov