Cantwell Applauds Announcement of Grant to Rebuild Evergreen Elementary at Joint Base Lewis McChord

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) applauded the announcement of a $40 million grant, and local match amount of $10 million by the Washington State Department of Education, to Clover Park School District to replace Evergreen Elementary at Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) in Washington. Funding to upgrade outdated and overcrowded on-base public schools was awarded through the Department of Defense, and strongly encouraged by Cantwell and colleagues.

“I am pleased that the Department of Defense approved this grant. If children are expected to learn and compete in the global economy, we must provide them with safe and modern schools in which to grow and thrive academically,” said Cantwell.

Evergreen Elementary school serves a large population of children with disabilities, children of men and women who proudly defend our nation and deserve the highest quality education. Once replaced, the school will serve 761 military connected students and 156 special education students in grades kindergarten through fifth.

This grant was approved by the Office of Economic Adjustment (OEA) through the Department of Defense’s Public School on Military Installations Program. Funds totaling $40,301,825 from DOD will go to Evergreen Elementary to address overcrowding and school condition deficiencies that were determined by the July 2011 Secretary of Defense “Public Schools on Military Installations Priority List.”

In 2011, with urging by Congress, the Department of Defense’s Office of Economic Adjustment (OEA) completed a comprehensive examination of all public schools on U.S. military bases. OEA’s analysis found that out of 157 schools on military installations, 40 percent were in poor or failing condition and many of them were overcrowded by as much as 30 percent.  Based off of a rating system OEA identified 33 schools with the highest-priority for replacement. Unfortunately due to sequestration, current funding allowed only 28 out of the 33 schools deemed high-priority to receive attention.

Last year, Senator Cantwell sent a letter to Senate Appropriations Committee urging funds be restored to all 33 schools in critical need of repair, and fulfill the committee’s 2011 commitment.