School district asks for city help dealing with growth

Enumclaw School District leaders see growth on the horizon and in anticipation have dusted off their Capital Facilities Plan and are asking the cities of Black Diamond and Enumclaw, along with King County, to adopt impact fees to help them meet the needs of the student population that growth will generate.

Superintendent Mike Nelson, Business Manager Tim Madden and attorney Denise Stiffarm made a presentation to the Enumclaw City Council at its March 14 meeting and then Nelson and Madden gave the same update to the school board at its March 21 meeting.

The presentation was designed to help the council understand impact fees and how they help school districts.

The city and school district have not seen growth in nearly a decade, but with the master plan development of YarrowBay looming in Black Diamond and plans to build homes in Liberty Meadows and SunTop in Enumclaw that could quickly change.

Impact fees are collected through developers, who usually pass on the cost to home buyers, with the intent to not burden tax payers already paying for schools in the district. Developers pay a set fee that goes through the city or county to the school district to offset costs for housing students. School districts must use those funds to house students and use them within 10 years of collection. Unused funds are returned.

Nelson explained since the Enumclaw School District does not have growth numbers to for basing a collection formula, they used the one offered by King County. Fees are based on a student-generation rate average for single and multifamily units. Nelson said the Enumclaw School Board, looking after the best interest of the community, set those fees high.

The City Council elected to pass the information to its Community Economic Development committee for review and referral.

In other business, the board:

• gave its nod to district leaders to continue with the 75-minute early dismissal Friday schedule for professional development.

• honored the Enumclaw High School state champion wrestling team.

• accepted the retirement of Enumclaw Middle School teacher Laura Ferguson and the resignation of Black Diamond Elementary Early Childhood Education and Assistant Program paraeducator Cynthia Egan.

• accepted a donation of $1,500 from the Muckleshoot Tribe to Southwood Elementary for computers to support its Gizmos science program.

• entered an agreement with Skynet Broadband to rent space at Osborne Field for wireless communication.

• gave its blessing to the Enumclaw High School band to attend Magic Music Days in Orlando, Fla., in 2012.

• announced its retreat will be Friday and its next regular meeting is 6:30 p.m. Monday.