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Tentative ‘yes’ for schools land transfer | Kent-Tahoma school districts

The Kent and Tahoma school districts have reached a tentative agreement regarding a proposed land transfer of the Forest Creek neighborhood.

The request was submitted to the Puget Sound Educational Service District, which oversees school district boundaries, in the fall by residents of Forest Creek. Residents wanted the 29 homes to become a part of the Tahoma School District. The move would affect about a dozen students, who reportedly all attend Tahoma on transfers.

The Kent School Board denied the transfer in January, citing the loss in assessed valuation that would occur if the transfer went through, resulting in a 21 cent increase in property taxes per $100,000 of assessed value for a homeowner in the Kent School District.

The Kent Board did however adopt an optional student attendance zone for the neighborhood

that would have allowed the students to continue to attend Tahoma schools for the next 10 years without applying for the annual waiver. Tahoma would also receive the per student funds from the state — approximately $9,500 per student per year — and Kent would retain the tax revenue.

Tahoma officials opposed that plan and the two districts had a hearing before the Regional Committee at the Educational Service District on April 15.

At that hearing, the two districts reached a tentative agreement. That agreement includes transferring the homes to Tahoma as well as transferring two parcels that are a part of the planned development at the Hawk Property in Covington from Tahoma to Kent.

Transferring the two parcels, which are each 40 acres, would make the entirety of the future development in the Kent School District. The development plans call for residential and commercial development, but currently no students live on the property.

According to Kent School Board documents, the transfer of the Forest Creek neighborhood will reduce the district’s assessed valuation by $5.36 million. The documents also state that the current assessed value of the combined, undeveloped 80 acres is $2.8 million.

The third condition of the agreement was that both districts would deny transfers for neighboring properties in the future.

The next step is for both school boards to either approve or deny the transfers.

Tahoma School District Spokesman Kevin Patterson said it was a surprise to Tahoma officials when Kent proposed also transferring the parcels in the Hawk Property.

“We’re looking at it and that’s something the board needs to consider,” Patterson said.

The Kent School Board approved the transfers at its April 23 meeting, and Patterson said that the proposal will likely go before the Tahoma School Board at their next meeting on May 13.

 

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