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April 13, 2012 at 11:55 AM

One-time gifts from Legislature to Seattle schools: $11.4 million

Remember that $3 million gift to Seattle Public Schools that earned headlines in February after showing up in the state House’s proposed budget in early February?

It turns out that most of that money made it into the Legislature’s final budget, and was joined by an additional $9.4 million allocation for Seattle school construction projects.

In all, lawmakers gave the Seattle school district $11.4 million in one-time allotments.

The high-profile $2 million – it was reduced by Senate budget negotiators – was proposed by Rep. Eric Pettigrew. The Seattle lawmaker, a Democrat, pushed for the money after failing to get his colleagues to support charter schools.

The money will go to two low-performing Seattle schools, which will be identified by the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction. It will be used for “intensive supplemental instruction, services and materials” next school year, according to the final budget compromise adopted by lawmakers Wednesday morning.

That might include professional development, an extended school day, smaller class sizes or summer activities, according to the budget.

Pettigrew did not immediately return telephone calls or emails seeking comment.

The $9.4 million in construction costs is part of a $1 billion capital budget package that was passed to support 18,000 construction jobs.

Seattle Public Schools will use its money to reopen three new schools – West Seattle’s Louisa Boren, North Seattle’s John Marshall and Southeast Seattle’s Van Asselt, officials said. All reopenings are necessary because of school overcrowding. Both Marshall and Van Asselt were closed in 2009 when officials thought they had extra space.

Sen. David Frockt, D-Seattle, wrote in a statement that the money is intended to help overcrowding issues and bring jobs.

“This funding will bring living wage jobs to Seattle at a time when the construction sector is still slow,” he wrote.

Seattle school officials celebrated the windfall at a School Board committee meeting Wednesday morning. “This is really going to make a difference,” Board President Michael DeBell said.

“Bravo,” Interim Superintendent Susan Enfield said. “It’s a big deal.”

Comments | More in Education, Government | Topics: budget, David Frockt, Eric Pettigrew

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