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Shoreline schools paying too much for water, school officials say

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waterSHORELINE, Wash. — Skryocketing utility bills could cost kids in Shoreline schools, school district officials said Wednesday.

Shoreline School District officials said rates in the Shoreline Water District went up 85 percent last year. Administrators are bracing for another increase in 2013, too.

Officials with the school district said if rates continued to go up, vital courses could need to be cut.

“Our customers are the children in this school district and we certainly can’t pass the cost on to them,” Shoreline Schools Spokesman Craig Degginer said.

Even water district officials admitted that water usage has gone down but rates have gone up. A spokesperson from the water district said the increased expense is part of a new equation for fire safety.

“We have to have infrastructure for fire safety and we now base cost on how much square footage is covered and schools have a very large footprint,” the official said in a statement.

Schools have already cut down on watering sports fields and plants, but they’re worried the increase in cost might eventually affect the students.

“They’re balancing their budgets on the backs of the school children in Shoreline and Lake Forrest Park,” Degginer said.

Teachers and parents at the water district meeting Tuesday night said they would not let the water district keep jacking up the costs.

“We are not going away,” said School Board President Debi Erlichman. “We are not going to bow down and just keep paying these bills.”

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  • fact check

    By law, the Shoreline Water District must balance their budget, just like the school district – they are both special purpose districts. And it is not fair to the residential and commercial ratepayers, not to mention illegal, to ask them to subsidize the school district rates.

    The Shoreline School District property taxes for their combined bond and levy rates are the highest in King County, the school district needs to live within their means — after all they are busy building soccer fields and new high schools, not to mention handing out ipads to their students and giving raises to their highest paid administrators all the while cutting support staff in the classroom and increasing class sizes.

    The school district administration and school board doth protest too much.

    • Really...

      All the things you said up there are true. But the MAJOR thing you are missing is that fact that the ability to build these new schools/fields and handing out of iPads all comes from levies. The school itself actually isn't paying anything. You, the tax payer are. A school shouldn't have to balance it's budget to pay for water. And no offense, the raising of pay is always going to happen. And if you were a student at lets say Shorecrest, or Lake Forest Park Elm. you would find that the classes are not that bad. Yes, the are large, but we have great teachers, and they all manage to get every kid to pass.

  • fact check

    By law, the Shoreline Water District must balance their budget, just like the school district – they are both special purpose districts. And it is not fair to the residential and commercial ratepayers, not to mention illegal, to ask them to subsidize the school district rates.

  • fact check

    @Really – you should take some of your kids classes and learn some critical reading skills, I think you missed the part where I mentioned bonds and levies, would it make it easier for your reading if I completely spelled out the relationship to property taxes?

    Water is a cost of doing business, and the school district better get busy living within their means like the rest of us.

    • Really...

      I go to Shorecrest, straight A's and AP classes. I know how to read critically. Sure, explain the relationship to property taxes to me. All I know is that they are what pay for me to go to school. I am an 11th grader, and guess what! I don't have to deal with that stuff yet. And sorry that I really don't care about the cost of water. I care about the fact that I don't want my education ruined because the school has to deal with the cost of water raising. Our new school is extremely efficient when it comes to water usage, but by their new system, it will no longer matter. Would you rather have kids who can read and right at a 12th grade level when they graduate? Or be like New Jersey, where a majority of their students graduate at 4th grade reading/writing levels.

  • fact check

    If all it takes is 9% increase in water bill (yep, that is how much the total water bill will increase for the school district) to ruin your school experience, and in actual fact utility bills are a very small part of the school district budget, then the Shoreline School District is poorly run indeed.

    Your new school isn't operational yet, however, since it uses so little water, an increase in the water bill shouldn't make a difference.

    The Shoreline School District wasn't paying for their surface water managment fees for years and they whined when the City of Shoreline gave them only 3 years to get their house in order so they can start paying their bill.

    I really don't care what happens to the kids in the school district when they already have the most generous property tax support in the county and rank in the top 25 property tax rates for the state.

    If you are a straight A student, then you should know what it means for the Shoreline Water District to have to follow the law in rate setting. Even if the City of Shoreline were providing the water, under RCW 35.92.010, "the rates charged must be uniform for the same class of customers or service."

    In other words, the school district has to pay these rates just the same as any other customer in its class.

  • Diane Pottinger

    The School District numbers are incorrect and they did not discuss this with us prior to going to the media. We are trying to understand their questions so we can accurately respond.