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Tahoma opposes land transfer

A chunk of land included in the YarrowBay Master Planned Developments in Black Diamond is the focus of discussion between the Enumclaw and Tahoma school districts.

The Enumclaw School District Board of Directors hosted a public hearing Wednesday night regarding the proposed transfer of land from the Tahoma School District to Enumclaw.

The hearing was an opportunity for community members to express their views regarding the proposed transfer.

The land in question is an approximately 35 acre portion that is zoned for commercial use in the master planned developments of YarrowBay, according to Enumclaw School District documents.

The process of adjusting school district boundaries is overseen by the local educational service district, a regional agency that provides support and services to school districts. Puget Sound ESD 121 is the district that services Tahoma and Enumclaw and will oversee the petition process.

“The Enumclaw School Board believes the entire related developments should be in the Enumclaw district, in part so that future property tax revenues from the commercial portions of the developments will help to support the costs of public school education of students living in the 6000 (plus) new residential units of the MPDs,” the public notice stated.

Bruce Zahradnik, deputy superintendent of Tahoma, attended the hearing during which he read a statement, which expressed the district’s opposition to the transfer, on behalf of Superintendent Mike Maryanksi.

In the statement Maryanksi noted that, if Tahoma was correctly interpreting Enumclaw’s request, the amount of land is actually 54.3 acres and no students reside within the parcel in question. Therefore the TSD board of directors do not believe the request complies with state laws regarding the transfer of property between districts.

The land in question is, “not home to any school-age students and is unlikely to ever be the home of future students,” Maryanski wrote in the statement. “As such, the proposed transfer of territory simply takes the assessed valuation of commercial land from one school district and gives it to another. Such conveyance of school district taxing authority does not comport with the policies and factors for determining transfers of territory under state law.”

Maryanski wrote that the transfer would not improve educational opportunities, safety or welfare of students and would not improve geographic accessibility, all factors that are considered valid reasons for a land transfer.

“Boundaries are adjusted all the time,” said Tahoma spokesman Kevin Patterson. “In this case we don’t think they should be.”

 

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