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Governor Signs Sen. Kilmer’s School Construction Reform Bill

The bill will prevent the government from spending money to build classroom space for online, out-of-district students.

OLYMPIA — The state will stop spending money building classroom space for online, out-of-district students under a bill signed by Gov. Chris Gregoire today.

“The state needs to focus investments on things that make sense. When the state invests in school construction, it should invest in space for students who will actually show up in the classroom,” said Sen. Derek Kilmer, D-Gig Harbor, who sponsored the bill. “This is common-sense reform that will save $13 million this year alone and much more in the years ahead.”

Senate Bill 6002 is expected to save $13 million this year by addressing an issue caused by a surge in the number of students enrolled with school districts in Alternative Learning Experience programs, or A.L.E. students. 

In some cases, these students are essentially studying at home, under direction and with an agreement from the school. They may never show up in the district's brick-and-mortar buildings, often interacting with the instructors only online. Many actually live outside the school district’s boundaries.

Recently, the State Auditor’s Office pointed out that the state’s school construction funding formula doesn't distinguish between students who sit in classrooms and learn in laboratories and students who participate online from home. The state pays its share of construction costs as if every A.L.E. student uses the district’s buildings.

SB 6002 reforms the state’s funding formula to provide construction assistance money based on the number of students physically present, and does not count A.L.E. students from other districts in that formula.

“Education is an investment that pays off for our entire state, and steps like these ensure that the state is being as effective with its limited education dollars as possible,” Kilmer said.

annette April 01, 2012 at 12:49 AM
Derek Kilmer dose alot of great things for our community getting to know him and his family professionally he believes what he says. That's a breath of fresh air!
Lee Greenawalt April 02, 2012 at 07:25 PM
In the movie, Black Board Jungle, the new teacher cleaned up the broken glass instead of getitng help from the system. That movie was fiction, but in fact classroom teachers are creative in creating a positive learning environment in spite of poor support. My thirty years in middle school classroom taught me that teachers can cope. Senator Kilmer underdstands: Give them a reasonable environment and authority to control the classroom. Then good teachers can lead students to become productive citizens. Bad teachers can be replaced if peer evaluation is employed.
Lee Greenawalt April 02, 2012 at 07:36 PM
I am sad that Derek Kilmer may go from helping us to get good access to Gig Harbor hospital and affordable Narrows bridge fees to become a part of the chaos that is called the House of Representatives. Derek is too nice to be effective until he has gotten some seniority , but I wish him well.

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