Community was included in school board’s YarrowBay decision

As elected officials to your Enumclaw School Board, we take our positions in making decisions that will affect our students and communities very seriously. There is not a decision made that we don’t consider the ramifications of our actions. We write this as the three board members that took action on the agreement, but we operate as a team of five. April Schroeder was just appointed in June and Tim Nickson recused himself from taking action on the agreement identifying a conflict of interest.

It is and always will be our intent to make decisions in an open and honest manner. When we read the piece last week about the school mitigation agreement with Yarrow Bay and the city of Black Diamond stating the board didn’t listen to the community, we felt compelled to make sure that the information being reported is factually correct. In October and November of 2009, three different informational meetings were held outlining the agreement. The Nov. 12, 2009, meeting was held in the Enumclaw High School library. Minutes can be found at the Enumclaw School District (ESD) website by using the Yarrow Bay link at the bottom of the page. Changes to the agreement were made from concerns the public shared, like removing access from Green Valley Road and increasing buffers. Action to approve the Tri-Party agreement was done 14 months after those 2009 meetings and the district waited until the first development hearings concluded last spring.

We understand growth will impact our school district and our district team negotiated diligently for four years with Yarrow Bay and the city of Black Diamond. As a result of the agreement, ESD secured property for school sites before the development has even occurred. School districts are often forced to find/purchase available land and then must still pass bonds to build the structures. Having this designated property is a great asset for the future of our school district and whoever may lead it over the next 20 years.

Enumclaw and Black Diamond are two communities, but we are one school district. Even though there is geographical divider in the Green River, there are 4,400 students that deserve the best educational experience we can provide.

It is the desire of the entire board and district, that lines of communication are always open and honest.

We thank you for the opportunity to represent our two communities and we will continue to work tirelessly for you and your family.

Chris VanHoof, president

Corey Cassell, vice president

Nancy Merrill

Enumclaw School Board

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