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Reykdal announces plan to reallocate timber revenue funding

by STAFF REPORT
Staff Report | July 21, 2022 4:35 PM

OLYMPIA — On July 19, State Superintendent Chris Reykdal unveiled his plan to reallocate funding from the K-12 Common School Trust to projects in rural communities and have the state legislature fund the K-12 School Construction Assistance Program through other revenue sources than timber harvesting on state trust lands.

“Rural communities in Washington have long generated this revenue through timber harvests and other trust land activities, but are not often the beneficiaries of it,” Reykdal said in the release. “We should be investing this revenue within the communities where it’s generated and using a portion of the dollars to support forest health and preservation.”

This plan is the first in a series of transformational budget and policy proposals Superintendent Reykdal will unveil through November in a series called Washington State Innovates: K–12 Education for the 21st Century and Beyond, the press release states.

The release states that funding from timber revenue has been steadily decreasing as well as how much of total school construction costs the Common School Trust revenue covers.

In his plan, a portion of revenues from timber harvested in the rural communities would be retained within the communities that generate the dollars.

The release states Reykdal expects the Legislature to fully backfill the School Construction Assistance Program with general obligation bonds or cash sources so urban districts retain their state dollars. He will propose the change during the upcoming legislative session as part of his 2023–25 Capital Budget request.

To ensure the long-term viability of trust lands, Reykdal is also calling for some of the Common School Trust Revenue to be used for Managing healthy forests through thinning, fire mitigation, overseeing forest health, and maintaining water quality; and Transitioning trust lands to long-term, sustainable uses such as wind and solar energy production, recreation, and education, the release states.

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