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Senate passes school construction measures

February 12th, 2013 - 6:43am

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) - The Washington state Senate has unanimously approved a measure authorizing $544 million in bonds for school construction -- a day before several school districts vote on school construction funding packages of their own.

Included in the package is $10 million for safety upgrades to schools that include installing panic alarms to alert local law enforcement of emergencies.

Traditionally, the Legislature passes a construction bonding measure late in its annual session that covers everything from building upgrades to parkland acquisitions.

Republicans in the Legislature, however, are pushing a "fund education first" agenda that would allocate K-12 dollars separately and in advance of other moneys. With two Democrats joining 23 Republicans to form a one-vote majority in the Senate, the measure's passage on Monday can be seen as part of that broader effort.

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