Thursday, October 3, 2013

A long evening listening . . .

I'm in hour three of a hearing before the Puget Sound Educational Service District Regional Committee on School District Organization because the Enumclaw School District has requested that we transfer about 54 acres from our tax role to theirs.  We made the decision that losing this assessed valuation is not in our best interest at the same time that we are asking our tax payers to support a bond measure on November 5th.

The rationale put forward by Enumclaw is that the parcel in question is included in the master planned community proposed by Yarrow Bay in the city of Black Diamond.  We believe that this rational is not consistent with any of the criteria in RCW 28A.315 that should guide the committee's decision.

The board is required to deliberate in public so we are currently listening to their conversation and thoughts.  They have identified twenty-one questions to consider in the eight criteria and the discussion thus far through three of those criteria support our position.  I don't intend for this post to be a running commentary so I'll hold off until they complete their deliberations.

One of the downsides of this process is the need to divert resources to prepare and present our case before the hearing board.  In this case it is attorney fees and a budget consultant.  On the positive side was hearing five citizens, one that lives in Enumclaw and four from our system, make public statements in support of our position.  There were no public comments in support of the Enumclaw position.

Our attorney, budget consultant, and Board President, Tim Adam represented us well.  Tim closed our presentation with cogent arguments and a statement that if the positions were reversed we would not have petitioned for this transfer and wasted the board's time.  As a system we can be proud of how he and our team represented our position.

At three hours and twenty-two minutes they completed their deliberation on the questions and by my count we prevailed on every question except those that they didn't consider because there are no students involved.  We prevailed by a vote of 5 to 0 to deny the request for transfer of territory.  We win!

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