Accountant Brian Neville challenges incumbent for school board seat
October 11, 2011
By Tom Corrigan
An accountant by trade, Brian Neville grew up in Issaquah and earned his advanced degree at the University of Washington.
“I’m deeply connected to the community,” he said.
Neville spent five years on the volunteer board of the Seattle-based nonprofit Community for Youth. The group’s aim is to help struggling or at-risk high school students. Neville said he hopes to continue his service to young people but wanted to find an opportunity on the Eastside. That was when he decided to try for the local school board.
“I want to just jump in and do something impactful,” Neville said, adding he has three priorities regarding Issaquah schools.
The capital improvement bond voters are being asked to approve in April makes the top of the list. The current board originally planned to run the bond issue in February, but the citizen committee promoting the bond asked for more time to convince voters.
Neville said he believes the board and other school officials need to do a good job of selling the need for the bond to the public. Neville noted a major school operating levy expires in two years and he said that fact needs more discussion than it has received. He said the district can’t afford to ask voters for too much.
“We can’t go to the well too often,” he said, adding that the expiring operating levy accounts for one-fourth of district revenues.
The levy may be even bigger than previously contemplated. At the same time they moved the bond issue to April, school board members also took some items out of the bond package. The idea is to put some before voters as part of a 2014 levy package.
What to know
Family: Married, two children
Education: Accounting degree, University of Washington
Employment: Senior manager, revenue accounting team, T-Mobile
Experience: Five years on board of Community for Youth, a Seattle nonprofit
Other issues on Neville’s mind include revamping how the district completes teacher evaluations and optimizing student curriculum. He described the first issue as a “very tricky thing.” The current board has discussed the issue, Neville said, but he added that discussion needs to be revived and expanded.
Regarding the curriculum of Issaquah schools, Neville said he doesn’t see any particular problem. But he also feels there is always a potential for improvement.
Overall, Neville wasn’t highly critical of the current board or school administrators. But he said he doesn’t like the idea of people running unopposed for political office, arguing that competition is a good thing for the district and for voters.
District 5 includes the northwest corner of Issaquah around Lake Sammamish as well as parts of the city of Sammamish. Although board candidates run for a specific geographic seat, voters from across the district cast ballots for all Issaquah School Board members. Members are elected to four-year terms.
Board members may request pay of $50 per meeting, but the current board has chosen not to accept that money, according to Sara Niegowski, district executive director of communications.
Tom Corrigan: 392-6434, ext. 241, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.