Relief may be in sight for school districts with school-siting bill

This year's contender for the Little Legislation That Could, House Bill 1017, appears to finally be on its way to passage in the state Legislature.

The bill, allowing schools to be sited outside of the state Growth Management Act's officially-designated "urban growth areas," has been on legislators' plates for awhile. During executive session of the Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee yesterday, senators approved it and sent it to the Rules Committee. It's already been passed by the full House on March 7 with an 82-15 vote, so presuming the full Senate also approves it lawmakers will only have to work out some minor differences.

Schools in rural and suburban areas have especially been clamoring for relief from overcrowded schools and what they view as unreasonably restrictive land-use laws for years. In late 2015 the Legislative Task Force on School Siting issued a report, which many hoped would result in legislation to fix the problem. It didn't happen last year, but now looks to be on track for passage.

We'll have more analysis of the bill as it moves through the Legislature. For now you can read The Lens' coverage of this issue here and here. The Washington State Association of Counties also has a brief summary of the House-passed version of the bill.

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