School board, Newcastle City Council share info, goals at joint meeting

May 19, 2009

By Staff

Issaquah School Board and Newcastle City Council members met to discuss issues of mutual interest May 14 in Newcastle.The annual meeting serves as an opportunity for the two groups to touch base with each other about pending construction projects, new ideas, goals and events.

The two groups talked about the state budget, teacher layoffs at the district level, and programming reductions or reductions in tax base at the city level, said School Board Member Connie Fletcher, who serves the Newcastle area.

School board members and Superintendent Steve Rasmussen talked about an upcoming levy in February 2010, which would replace the expiring levies voted on in 2006.

The two groups also focused on construction projects at Liberty High School, Maywood Middle School and Briarwood Elementary School. New science classrooms are expected at the middle and high schools and sewer lines might come out to connect the three schools, which are currently on septic systems.

Because the meeting is informal, they were able to talk more about vision and goal setting than they had in the past, Fletcher said.

“We did talk about the importance of neighborhood schools and the important roles schools play in their communities as a focus point,” she said. “We also talked a lot about 21st century skills and what our kids should know and what they should be able to do, and how schools are adjusting to the new demands.”

Ben Varon, mayor of Newcastle, said the meeting serves as a casual get-together for the City Council and the school board members.

“With their new members and our new City Council members, this allows both parties to get up to speed on issues affecting both of us,” Varon said.

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