Gov. Inslee discusses school district budgeting - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Gov. Inslee discusses school district budgeting

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MOXEE, WA - Governor Jay Inslee pays a visit to East Valley High School in Moxee in hopes that it will push the state legislature to approve a state capital budget.

56 school construction and renovation projects in 36 districts across the state are now on hold. Without a capital budget, the schools can't get the money to start construction.

Last month, the legislature passed a more than $43 billion operating budget. The capital budget is different, and what's holding it up is water resource management legislation.

East Valley High School is waiting for more than $17 million for renovations. The school was built nearly 40 years ago. Enrollment now is overcrowded for narrow hallways and small classrooms, but school officials expect there will be more than 1,000 students by 2024.

"These teachers and kids are doing a great job here but this school is designed for 500 kids and now they have 950 and it's growing rapidly," said Governor Inslee. "So you can just only squeeze so many kids into a cracker box. We need new tools for these kids, they need to know about the new skill sets to compete in the new economy." 

Gov. Inslee blames the Republican-controlled state senate saying they failed in its duty to pass a budget and they're holding students as leverage in an unrelated water issue.

The capital budget would also include $14 million for White Swan High School in the Mt. Adams School District, $1.4 million for the Roza Irrigation District, and $3.5 million for the Yakima YMCA Aquatic Center.

Gov. Inslee says the construction budget would mean 19,000 new jobs, but only if the legislature does its job.