If families outside of University Place really want their kids to attend school here, should they pay for the opportunity?
That’s the question many are asking, after the idea of charging tuition to out-of-district students was proposed by school board member Annie Fitzsimmons at last week’s regular meeting.
Out-of-town students make up approximately one-fifth (20 percent) of the University Place School District, which has about 5,600 enrolled students this year.
The high-achievement programs and facilities in UP attract families from all over the area, like Tacoma, Lakewood, Steilacoom and Franklin Pierce districts. State law gives parents the option to send their children into a different school district if they met certain criteria.
Fitzsimmons argued that UP taxpayers are subsidizing the education of children from other cities and asked the school board and Attorney General to weigh in on the issue. The average homeowner in University Place pays about $8.13 per month, or under $100 per year in extra levy dollars from out-of-district students, according to numbers provided by the district.
On the other hand, out-of-district students bring more funding dollars and revenue sources to the district from the federal and state levels and generate state levy equalization dollars, which brings over $3 million to the district.
With a newly minted 4A State Championship basketball team, competitive arts, AP and language programs, it’s easy to see why families from out of town want to be part of UP.
Do you think that out-of-district students should pay tuition to attend University Place schools? Tell us in the comments.