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Tribe not paying debt service

In 2023 the La Conner School District taxes will be $993,717 for operations and $1,300,000 for debt service. There are 2,313 taxpayers in the district. On average, each taxpayer pays $992 for schools.

According to the school district’s budget, the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community contributes $500,000 to operations and nothing to debt service. Debt service is covered by non-Indians.

According to the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, 34% of the student population is Native American. The Tribe’s share of debt service is $442,000, but they do not contribute.

The bond was voted on before the Great Wolf decision was handed down. That gave the Swinomish the right to tax homes in Shelter Bay and Pull & Be Damned. They tax at the rate of $11.98 per thousand of assessed valuation. After making donations to the fire district, the library and the school district, they have over $1,000,000 left. They should make a donation to debt service for the schools.

On June 27, 2022, I attended a meeting of the La Conner school board and asked them to consider asking the Tribe to contribute to the debt service. There has been no response. Why?


Dan O’Donnell

La Conner


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