Public hearing held on Manweller legislation to reduce school construction costs

A bill to reduce the costs of school construction received a public hearing today in the House Labor and Workforce Development Committee.   House Bill 1255, introduced by Rep. Matt Manweller, R-Ellensburg, would exempt new public school construction projects from prevailing wage requirements.   “Prevailing wage law is pushing our school construction costs up about thirty to thirty-five percent. We simply cannot afford those costs in rural communities,” Manweller said. “We have school districts around the state who cannot get a bond passed because taxpayers and communities feel the proposed costs are outrageous. We heard testimony that the cost per square foot of some of the proposed projects in my district is between $260 and $360 per square foot. No one wants to pay for that much for school construction no matter how much you support education.”   In 2012, 16 school districts received approximately $213 million for construction and modernization projects.   “I have been an educator for twenty years – and at all levels. I am very passionate about education. This bill would help our students, our teachers and taxpayers,” Manweller said. “Our kids deserve to learn in a healthy and safe environment. Many schools in the Thirteenth District are very old. If we could get this bill through the legislative process, we could build more modern, technologically-advanced, green schools.”
Manweller did not expect the bill to make it out of committee, since the majority party has indicated it has no intention of changing prevailing wage laws this session.


Washington State House Republican Communications