To The Editor

November 19, 2008

By Contributor

School boundaries 

Incorrect data being used to determine fate of Overdale Park students

The Boundary Review Committee recommendation will soon be presented to the school board for approval or revision. My hope is that Steve Rasmussen and the board will make some revisions, keeping Overdale at Grand Ridge and West Highlands Park at Clark. I attended the final two meetings of the committee and was disappointed by the lack of information presented to committee members. Questions were asked by members that were either answered with incorrect data or not answered.

The facts are:

1) There will be plenty of room at Grand Ridge for Overdale students; projections from district officials are an enrollment in the high 600s or low 700s with the new plan after complete build-up (2012-2013). Currently, the head count is 880. There are only 45 elementary students from Overdale. Any doubt regarding the West Highlands Park development completion should also be placed upon the rest of the planned developments around the city, possibly creating even more space at Grand Ridge. Keeping the new neighborhood at Clark will reduce Grand Ridge’s projections and increase Clark’s.

2) The “Current Enrollment Spreadsheet” in the committee notebook shows Clark with 221 students. If the Overdale students remained at Grand Ridge, the current committee recommendation would put 245 at Clark, an increase of 24 from current enrollment. Special programs at the school will continue to attend Clark, giving Clark more numbers and the district programming flexibility.

I explained to my son that the Issaquah Highlands needed our numbers from Overdale Park to make Grand Ridge a viable school when it first opened, so the district moved him from Endeavour. Now, the highlands doesn’t need our numbers, so the district is moving the neighborhood to a different school that wants our numbers (Clark). My sixth-grader said, “So, Grand Ridge was just borrowing us.” He loved it at Grand Ridge. His face fell when he put two and two together and realized, on his own, that the school was only using him.

Most children in our neighborhood will have attended three different elementary schools if this plan is approved. Please don’t make that a reality.

Philip Dungey

Issaquah

Jazz musicians

High school performers at Jazz Alley were a treat to listen to live

We were fortunate to be in the audience recently for a magical evening of jazz when Liberty High School’s music teacher, Phil Donley, organized performances by Liberty students in collaboration with students of Issaquah and Skyline high schools at Jazz Alley in Seattle.

The work that went into this behind the scenes was obvious and impressive; the performance went off without a hitch. It was the best kind of collaborative event with the three high schools’ musicians wowing the audience the entire evening. 

We were impressed with how good the students were, which also reflects on their teachers. From the first few phrases of Liberty’s first piece, we could tell they had every right to be on a nightclub stage in Seattle. To hear such energy, talent and “style” after only a few short months of playing together was downright wonderful. 

Each school had its own distinctive “sound,” accomplished musicians and appropriate performance demeanor for this venue. Both of the other school’s jazz band teachers complimented Donley from the stage for all his hard work and initiative in organizing this event. Congratulations are also in order for the music teachers of Issaquah (Patrick Holen) and Skyline (David Pitt) for their students’ fine performances. 

As parents, we schlepped our kids to and from practices early and often to help them be ready for this big night. It’s a reflection of the student’s dedication to Donley that he is able to demand and get their time and attention. We are grateful for Donley’s commitment to the music program at Liberty, and his skill to pull something like this together and make it happen. 

The musicians’ families and friends “packed the house” on a typically quiet night, so Jazz Alley was also a winner. It was a good opportunity for all of our high school students to participate in something shared together rather than the more typical competition. We hope to enjoy more collaborative events like this. As proud Liberty parents, we tip our hats to Donley. Special thanks to him for providing such a wonderful opportunity for all of us. 

Linda and Mark Bergam

Newcastle

Transit center

New facility was poorly designed  to handle this area’s heavy rain 

On a sunny August afternoon, city officials, some Issaquah citizens and, I assume, some representatives from King County Metro celebrated the grand opening of the new Issaquah Transit Center. 

It would be good for some of those same city officials and Metro reps to show up on a rainy morning (like this morning, and most of the other mornings we’ve had this week) to see what our tax dollars are paying for. 

Most of the benches are not under cover, so are virtually unusable several months of the year. The benches that are under cover also get wet on days like today, because the glass “walls,” where they do exist, stop about 6 inches above the benches, rather than extending all the way down to the ground. If the rain blows sideways (a common occurrence), the “covered” benches get soaked as well. ?

The majority of the transit center is not covered at all. A lot of the metal “posts” that separate the uncovered areas from the covered areas are leaking, so rivers of water are running down the posts and causing puddles on the platform. We are waiting for the buses in standing water. There are no covered walkways from the parking garage to the bus bays, so people who use the garage have no protection from the weather.

Getting people to use public transportation is vital to resolving traffic issues, but regular Issaquah Transit Center users are pretty frustrated. In July, right after the transit center opened, I sent an e-mail to King County Metro with some of these same concerns. I heard back from a rep who said that “someone would look into it.” But if anyone did, it was probably on a sunny day and had no impact on the situation. 

It took a long time to get the Issaquah Transit Center built, and I’m sure it came with a hefty price tag. It would be money well-spent if the problems were resolved, but I fear that won’t happen unless city leaders get involved.

Ann Holmberg

Issaquah

Taxes

City Council comes to its senses, votes against increases

It is very satisfying to see the City Council stand up to our tax-and-spend bureaucrats. 

The Issaquah 2009 property tax will not be increased by the usual 1 percent limit. Deputy Finance Director Trisha Draycott gave her pitch for the increase, but wiser heads on the council prevailed and unanimously rejected the requested increase. 

We are fortunate for our council’s action, since some surrounding communities have no such options due to their spending habits. Thank you, council. 

Ken Sessler 

Issaquah

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