Newcomer Patrick Sansing challenges for Issaquah School Board seat

October 18, 2011

By Tom Corrigan

Opposing Issaquah School Board member Brian Deagle on the November ballot, Sammamish resident Patrick Sansing insists local schools are not in bad shape.

Patrick Sansing

“I think we have good schools,” Sansing said. “But I think they are not good enough. I really think we can do better.”

District 3 covers the north end of the school district including parts of Klahanie and parts of the portion of Sammamish included in the Issaquah School District. 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.

In terms of improving the schools, Sansing several times referred to officials needing to identify “the next big thing, the next big idea in education.” In many areas, Sansing believes a lack of ideas has led to a certain stagnation in the district.

For example, on 10th-grade, standardized-writing tests, Sansing said Issaquah district scores have remained high and very steady over the years.

“Our schools are good schools and will continue to be good schools, but let’s find that next thing that makes a difference, that leads to improvement,” he said.

What to know

Patrick Sansing

Family: Married, two children

Education: California State University, business administration

Employment: PTSA, including executive committee, bond and levy committees

Experience: Technology manager, T-Mobile

Residence: Sammamish

Sansing admits he does not know what that next big thing might be, but said the school board needs to get ahead of the curve and act now.

Sansing also said Issaquah officials need to show more leadership in other areas. He is highly critical of what he sees as the current board’s lack of long-term financial planning.

“We need to think strategically about the levels of funding and we need to project that out into the future,” he said.

The school board hammered out the final pieces of a capital improvement bond issue at their most recent meeting Sept. 28. Sansing has not come out against passage of the bond, but said officials must put the measure into a larger financial context.

“My view is at the same time a bond is proposed, communicate a long-term financial strategy,” Sansing said on his election Facebook page. “Think about the big picture and communicate when the next bond will be and about how much.”

Sansing further said school officials need to spell out their strategy to deal with likely cuts in state funding.

“We should make our decision with all the facts and future plans, not just on the merits of only this bond,” Sansing said.

Incumbent Deagle emphasized his experience, noting that if he is re-elected, he will be the senior member of the school board. Deagle contends newcomers to the board have a steep learning curve, just as he did when he first joined. Sansing said he has a pretty good idea of what he might be getting himself into.

As a college student, Sansing served on a state education board in California. He said he was nominated by that state’s governor to continue serving after he graduated, but in the end wasn’t selected.

Go to Sansing’s election webpage at www.patricksansing.com.

Tom Corrigan: 392-6434, ext. 241, or tcorrigan@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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