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Published on Friday, October 16, 2015

Legislative School Siting Task Force meets for first time

Last year’s capital budget directed the creation of a legislative task force to look at the siting challenges facing school districts in the state, particularly those that feel they have a difficult time securing usable land within the urban growth areas of their community. Carl Schroeder with AWC is a task force member, and participated along with Eric Shields of Kirkland and Rob Odle of Redmond in the kickoff meeting on October 8.

School districts expressed their concerns which included concern around regional plans that do not permit siting of schools that serve urban schools outside of UGAs to counties that turned down UGA expansion proposals. Some counties like Clark County have developed regional plans allowing a certain level of flexibility in school siting, while King County shared details of their extensive local process to evaluate and approve rural school sites.

There are a wide variety of issues facing school districts around the state when they look to site new schools – from size requirements, to regional and local comprehensive plans, to resource constraints facing all parties. There were no silver bullet answers provided, and it looks like this task force is going to have a difficult challenge if it needs to make recommendations in advance of the next session. If you have insight and interest in this challenge, please contact Dave Catterson and he will get you plugged in.