May 31, 2011
City, school cooperation serves everyone
Last week, the Issaquah City Council and Issaquah School Board members took time to meet with each other and chat. The pairing has become an annual event.
The Issaquah School Board also met last week with the Sammamish City Council to discuss issues that matter to their constituents. This kind of interaction is valuable and irreplaceable.
Of course, at the staff level, these interactions happen all of the time, as they should. Most issues and communications are ably handled by the administrators who run the city and schools day to day. There is, however, nothing quite like letting the policy makers sit around a table and get to know each other and share their concerns.
The Issaquah City Council does this sort of thing from time to time with other neighboring government agencies or elected officials, but not usually as a collective body.
The time spent with the school board is often the beginning of solutions. At this week’s meeting, the prime topic was transportation issues near schools. Some of those, like the morning commuter back-ups caused by parents driving students to Issaquah Middle School, have been discussed before. Some solutions have helped the situation, and talk continues.
The school board members have discussed televising their meetings for nearly two decades, but have not gotten there yet. At one point, there was even discussion of building a shared city/school meeting room equipped with recording equipment. Last week, the Issaquah City Council urged the board again to consider televised meetings.
The school district works cooperatively with the city on joint use of recreational fields and facilities, on the implementation of developer mitigation fees, on waived storm water fees, emergency planning and other shared interests.
Taking time to meet casually builds a better relationship between the elected officials.
We believe it is a wise use of time that ultimately builds a more representative government.