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School board member says stormwater fees would be better spent on teachers

POULSBO — The North Kitsap School District pays $45,000 in stormwater fees each year to the City of Poulsbo, something school board member Tom Anderson thinks would be better spent on teachers.

Anderson said eliminating the annual fee would be a start to how the city and school district could better cooperate. The fee, which pays for the cost of maintenance to Poulsbo's stormwater systems, could instead pay for at least one part-time teacher, he said.

However, because schools within city limits such as North Kitsap High School and Poulsbo Middle School, were developed without many environmental impact standards, lowering or eliminating that fee would not be in the city's favor, Poulsbo Mayor Becky Erickson said at a joint meeting of the City Council and school board July 13.

Alternatives to current stormwater systems, such as rain gardens, could help lower the impact schools have on the environment and reduce fees. With current budget constraints, though, making those improvements are a ways off.

Other areas of future study by the council and school board include the possibility of building another school as Poulsbo's population is expected to increase to 14,000 by 2030 and new neighborhoods are built. This includes the Edward Rose & Sons neighborhood at State Route 305 and Bond Road, which was unanimously approved on June 28 by the City Council.

More than 540 apartments are planned for 55 acres, and Councilman Jim Henry suggested the developers build another Poulsbo school instead of paying the city impact fees.

"You've got this Rose project coming in, why not tell them to build a school," Henry said.

However, current enrollment trends in the district show fewer incoming students and large graduating classes, school board member Dan Weedin said.

The council and school board plan to meet once annually about areas where the two may work more closely together. A date for the next meeting was not set. Erickson said if needed, more than one meeting could be scheduled.

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