Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Roach Successful With $2 Million In Budget For Rainier School

Last-minute reprieve for Rainier School money

Post by Jordan Schrader  The News Tribune on April 23, 2012 at 1:55 pm

At Tacoma Community College, Gov. Chris Gregoire is getting ready to to sign the state capital-construction budget that contains more than $1 billion for one-time projects and will veto a handful of pieces.

This morning, $3 million worth of renovations to Rainier School was on that target list. Her legislative director even made a call to Sen. Pam Roach today to tell her the bad news: that Gregoire planned to cancel the proposed renovation of cottages where residents of the Buckley center for the developmentally disabled live.

The director, Jim Justin, said it’s because a study is looking at the future of all the residential centers. ”Why put money in for expansion if you’re not sure what you’re going to do with the facility?” he said.

But he said the office took another look and decided there was no expansion called for in the proposal. While it’s not a huge sum, it’s especially significant because Rainier School has been proposed for closure in the past, including by Gregoire. Spending new money on upgrades might help preserve it in the future.

“Once we start making financial commitments to Rainier then we will get the target off the back,” Roach said. So Roach was surprised when Gregoire’s office called her again later in the day to say the governor had reconsidered and decided against a veto. It’s “amazing” news, Roach said.

UPDATE 3:55 p.m.: Gregoire said she made sure before deciding not to veto the money that it would not prevent future decisions such as closure of Rainier School. She also said she would veto a $600,000 study of the future of Rainier School that Roach had wanted. “I don’t see any reasons for that when we’ve got a study already that’s underway,” Gregoire said.

No comments: