Tardy school tenants Whidbey education center slapped with conditions

Not paying rent or utilities gets most tenants kicked out sooner than six months.

But the Whidbey Island Community Education Center has only a few days before it faces eviction by the South Whidbey School District. That is, only if its house is in order.

“They were asking for more than we were willing to give them,” said Steve Scoles, school board chairman.

“We said we’re not willing to give (them) any deal if they’re not willing to fulfill the agreement they already entered into.”

School board members approved a renegotiated six-month lease with the continued learning program housed at the hundred year-old Bayview School.

Rather than pay the district $1,000 per month, the education center pays $500, plus monthly utilities and six months of unpaid utilities costs of more than $1,800.

In the education center’s proposal, it requested the lower rent to “enable the other partners to establish their programs and gain financial stability,” “allow for WICEC to further develop its programs and increase tuition revenue,” “give time to the executive director and the board to develop a more mature and sophisticated approach to raising money,” and give “needed time to do more research and with partners to write grants...”

Whidbey Island Community Education Center has until April 1 to comply with several stipulations for the new agreement to begin. Paying the owed utilities costs is a start, but the center must also assume the utility bills in its name. A $500 deposit is due as well.

“It’s not designed to cost the district anything and bring in rental fees actually,” said Superintendent Jo Moccia.

“Now we’re expecting them to make good on all the terms of the lease.”

A first step was made Thursday when the center delivered proof of insurance to the school district.

If the education center does not comply with the lease, eviction is a possibility for the new nonprofit.

“We’re hoping that it doesn’t come to that, but they’re fully aware that the district can’t incur any cost,” Moccia said.

The education center was founded to provide adults a place to learn in a structured environment.

Continued learning is not new to South Whidbey, but the Whidbey Island Community Education Center offers teachers, both accredited and not, subjects such as photography, reading poetry, public speaking, 3D printing and Wine 101.

The lease was structured for the nonprofit to use Bayview School rent free for six months, then pay $1,000 for the next six months.

Starting in September, the lease increases to $1,500 per month until August 2014.


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