School Construction Topic Brief

What is it? 

State funding to help school districts pay for construction projects, often referred to as SCAP.

What does it fund? 

  • Engineering costs
  • Architectural costs
  • New furniture costs
  • Other directly-related costs

How is it allocated?

Three factors determine how much funding is possible per project:

  • Eligible area: A comparison of the district’s projected need, less current capacity, multiplied by a given number of square feet per student in a given grade span
  • Cost per square foot (construction cost allocation): A legislatively-defined amount of funding per square foot. For 2022-2023, the rate is $246.83 per square foot. 
  • Funding assistance percentage: Based on the assessed value per pupil in the district compared to the state average. For 2020, the percentages range from 20% to 97.32%.

Any cost beyond SCAP funding is the district’s responsibility.

How do districts receive the money? 

A district must pass a local bond or levy in order to access SCAP funding. Once approved by voters within the district, a district must follow the D-form process with OSPI to determine eligibility for a given project, a process that can take many months to a couple of years. Then, the project needs to be funded by OSPI, which gets its information from the Legislature. It is possible that a district can get preliminary approval from OSPI prior to the project being funded by the Legislature. Finally, the district must generally front-fund their portion of the project, and then apply for reimbursement from OSPI once their local share is met. 

What can school board members do to advocate for an improvement to the formula? 

  • Meet with your superintendent to familiarize yourself with facility needs. 
  • Be able to connect each need to an impact on teaching and learning. 
  • Schedule meetings with your legislators.

Share the connections you found between facility needs and teaching and learning. If possible, consider having positive examples to contrast with your negative anecdotes. 

Ask your legislators to support revision of the SCAP formula to reflect actual need by enhancing the square footage and student ratios.

Updated January 2023