Tulalip Tribes may buy elementary school

  • By Amy Daybert Herald Writer
  • Saturday, February 19, 2011 12:01am
  • Local News

* Correction, Feb. 20, 2011: A headline on an earlier version of this story misidentified the school that may be purchased.

MARYSVILLE — Tulalip Elementary students could begin their next school year at Quil Ceda Elementary School.

The Tulalip Tribes are interested in buying the land and the four buildings on the school campus for use as an early childhood center, according to Marysville School District Superintendent Larry Nyland. If an agreement is reached, Tulalip Elementary teachers and students would be relocated to Quil Ceda, about six miles away. The Marysville Cooperative Education Program that runs out of Quil Ceda Elementary would move to Marshall Elementary School.

Tulalip and Quil Ceda Elementary schools are both located on the Tulalip Indian Reservation. The Tulalip Tribes transferred the land for Tulalip Elementary School to the district for $1 on May 2, 1958, with the stipulation the land would one day be sold back for $1 to the Tulalip Tribes.

An interest in buying back the land and purchasing the school buildings was expressed by the Tulalip Tribes about two weeks ago, Nyland said. Selling the land and buildings to the Tulalip Tribes has been discussed several times over the past two years, he added. Marysville School District officials at the time agreed to consider negotiations if the Tulalip Tribes offered to buy the land and school property.

A spokesman with the Tulalip Tribes declined to comment Friday about the possible sale.

Tulalip Elementary has a student count of 235 while the Marysville Cooperative Education Program has an enrollment of 260 students. The cooperative program would continue to function as normal after the move while Tulalip Elementary School would remain a separate entity, Nyland said.

“One of the first things we did was walk the buildings to look at available classrooms and determine we had adequate facilities and classroom space,” Nyland said.

A Marysville School Board meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. An item is on the agenda to authorize Nyland to negotiate and enter into an agreement with Tulalip Tribes that would come back to the board for approval.

The district is hoping to reach an agreement sometime in the next month, according to Nyland.

“If this is going to happen for next fall both parties have a lot of work to do,” he said.

That work will include a transition plan for the district. While the immediate plan is to move Tulalip Elementary teachers along with students, it is still unclear if all operational positions, including counselor, custodial, health aide, principal and secretary positions, will be duplicated at Quil Ceda Elementary. The district estimates a savings of $400,000 a year on operational costs should a deal be made.

The district will have an appraisal done of the Tulalip Elementary school buildings. The sale price is expected to be between $2 million and $3 million, Nyland said.

Money from the sale would go back into the district’s capital construction account, Nyland added, because the building was built using bond dollars.

“We value our relationship with the Tulalip Tribes and wouldn’t want to be preemptive about not using that school anymore,” Nyland said. “In this case it seems to meet both of our needs and we both benefit from the early learning program.”

Amy Daybert: 425-339-3491; adaybert@heraldnet.com.

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