The Richland School District is moving toward becoming Delta High School's landlord by buying the property housing the small school.
The district would use money left over from a bond levy voters approved in 2003 to buy the Richland property, which is assessed at about $1.2 million, Superintendent Jim Busey told the Herald after Tuesday's school board meeting.
The bond money cannot be used to pay for operating schools or to pay teachers. It already is in district accounts and would require no new property taxes.
The sale of the building and land would not change the unique operating structure of the school that has attracted statewide attention for its advanced programs.
Delta is a public school open to students from the Kennewick, Richland and Pasco school districts, which focuses on science, technology, engineering and math -- or STEM -- education.
The school is a private-public partnership. Members of the Tri-Cities' research community sit on the board of the foundation that runs the school, as do the superintendents of the three school districts.
The small school of about 300 students operates out of a building on Northgate Drive in Richland, which the foundation so far has leased from Columbia Basin College.
The building is running out of room. Delta started two years ago with only freshmen, adding a new grade each year. It houses ninth, 10th and 11th grades this year, which requires it to lease additional space in a CBC building across the street from the main Delta campus.
The school will be completely out of room next year, when it has all four high school grades, officials have said. The building will have to be expanded or replaced with a larger facility.
And the capital project decisions involving three school districts, state agencies, a private foundation and a community college need to be simplified, Busey said Tuesday.
The other two districts' superintendents, CBC and the foundation running Delta have said they agree with the Richland district's purchase of the Delta building, Busey said.
All parties involved also agreed that the school should be kept at its current location, Busey said.
It makes sense for the Richland district to own a school facility that sits within its boundaries, he said. The purchase would mean Richland could "take the lead" in future negotiations about the facility, Busey said.
The deal could be completed early next year.
w The school board unanimously approved eight novels and non-fiction books for use in the classroom. All had received nearly undivided endorsements from the Instructional Materials Committee.
w The Richland School District will put an operations levy measure on the Feb. 14 ballot. The amount has yet to be decided, but likely will be slightly higher than the current levy, to make up for expected state budget cuts.