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Should Out-Of-District Families Pay Tuition to Send Their Kids to University Place Schools?

An idea proposed by a University Place school board member to charge out-of-district tuition is leading to more questions in the structure of the regional school system.

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.

Read more on this issue in The Tacoma News Tribune.

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.

kishwar March 06, 2013 at 04:23 AM
University Place Residents should not pay a penny for out of district students. I was not aware when I voted yes for our schools that my tax dollars are funding another school district. I like Christina's idea-Let property owners vote on it.
Terry Larson March 06, 2013 at 05:21 PM
The only way to make it happen is to attend the school board meetings and/or contact OUR board members that are supposed to represent OUR best interest.
Christina March 06, 2013 at 06:09 PM
Again let Up property owners vote, then be armed with results and go to these meetings. I am so sick of our city leaders doing what they want and not what the majority wants. What does one do, set up a table in front of Safeway and get people to sign. I am pissed enough to do it !!
Amanda March 19, 2013 at 09:18 PM
I wouldn't know how to vote. I live in the city- I pay the high taxes of UP- but I don't live in the school district- I don't want to pay tuition too.
Lance Orloff March 20, 2013 at 01:07 PM
Amanda, you don't pay the University Place school tax like the rest of us. It is only fair that you contribute to the cost of the thing you receive. The alternative is to forbid you to send your kids here so you don't get something without paying for it. I understand that if are in the Tacoma School District, you are paying for Tacoma Schools. I am in the UP School District but I send my kids to private school because of all the problems I see in the UP Schools (see my earlier post). I want something better and am willing to pay tuition to get it. You want something better but have just stated you don't want to pay for it. That is not fair or equitable.

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