Fast Focus: 'Should schools collect impact fees on new housing?' Fees beat the alternatives

April 27, 2014 

School bonds build schools, but the districts are not allowed to build for future growth -- they are only allowed to build for current enrollment numbers. With this completely flawed system, a district like Pasco that grows by 600 students per year will continue to have overcrowding, regardless of their planning. Our county commissioners don't seem to understand that.

School levies fund the maintenance, operations and learning but Pasco's assessed property values and tax base is lower than our surrounding districts. I am glad that Pasco's recently published list of goals stresses the importance of growing that tax base, which will help reduce our individual tax burden.

Impact fees may not be the preferable way to fund schools, but before you condemn the district for them, you should really take the time to learn more about how schools are funded. There are so many constraints -- from both federal and state levels -- that the district is between a rock and a hard place.

Please, rather than being an armchair critic of the school district, get involved! Educate yourself and you will see how hard the district is trying to think of creative ways to solve the overcrowding in Pasco without resorting to double-shifting, which parents have soundly rebuked.

-- DANA ALLEN, Pasco

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