To the Editor
April 3, 2012
Future growth plans
Get involved if you care about our city
Eyes On Issaquah and the Issaquah Environmental Council keeps a close eye on many of the city’s plans. For decades now, when the city has either been blind to its own rampant and run-amok processes or simply looks the other way, activists, concerned citizens and common-sense people in our town have stood up and told the city what they want our town to be.
This massive growth plan that the city wishes to foist upon all of us, now, more than ever, people who “love Issaquah” had better get involved, fast, because this steamroller of big-city-here-forever growth is going to stop for no one. Get involved, get moving, Issaquah — this will be your last opportunity to put a focus on what you want your town to look like — forever.
Issaquah schools bond
Vote yes for our schools
I was invited to join dozens in our community last fall to serve on the Issaquah School District’s Capital Bond Feasibility & Development Committee. I was the representative for Sunset Elementary School. I am glad I accepted the invitation as it provided me with insight into the years of thoughtful decision-making that go into this process.
We are very fortunate to have intelligent and passionate leadership in our schools and our community. Our committee asked many tough questions regarding the timing, the economy and the need. After much debate it was agreed this was the time and there was the need. In fact, this is the best time given our district’s strong AAA rating, low interest rates and low construction costs.
Like a lot of families, we moved to Issaquah for the schools and we have not been disappointed. As with anything else, school buildings require ongoing capital investments to maintain and improve safety, capacity and efficiency.
I encourage you to vote yes for the school bond on your April 17 mail-in ballot. Your support will make it possible to rebuild our oldest schools, take care of critical maintenance and repair projects across the district, and put more money back into the classrooms. The new buildings will be about 30 percent more efficient with their utility costs, and emergency repairs come directly out of our district’s operating budget if not included in a maintenance bond.
It is also important to understand the bond is structured so that our property taxes will actually decrease. The owner of a $500,000 home will pay about $215 less each year then they are paying now.
Our students, teachers and volunteers are a great source of pride. Recent bonds have built new schools, replaced old schools and improved the behind-the-scenes operations of every other school. We can’t take our schools for granted and we can’t take this vote for granted. For more information, go to www.visvote.org and please vote yes.
A wise investment in student future
As an Issaquah business owner who has hired Issaquah School District graduates, a father with four children in the district and a strong believer in the power of public education, I encourage you to vote for the district bond April 17.
The district has put together a package that addresses the current needs of the district and also a vision of what it can accomplish in the future. The move and expansion of Tiger Mountain Community High School commits the district to expanding the technical and vocational training opportunities for our children.
The districtwide remodeling and upgrades saves dollars that can then be spent in classrooms. And as a resident of the south end of the district, I am excited to see the completion of the Liberty High School remodel, which will elevate that facility to the level of Skyline and Issaquah High schools.
The bond also takes advantage of historic low interest rates and construction costs, and expands it to eight years from the traditional six. The resulting bond means lower school-related taxes due to the retirement of other school debt, and is a wise investment in the future for children. Please join me in voting for the bond.
Wright A. Noel
Consider other possible changes in the area before voting
This month, we vote on the merits of the school bond that is before us. As we do so, we should also be aware of future demands that will be placed upon the Issaquah School District by dramatic zoning changes currently under consideration by the mayor and City Council of Issaquah.
Based on a prior action in 2010, they seem favorably disposed to adopt a plan in a few months to attract some 23,000 new residents to 15-story mixed-use buildings to be built on the valley floor on both sides of Interstate 90 in the general area now inhabited by Costco, Target and Rowley Center.
Twenty-three thousand is kind of pulled out of the air because it, together with attracting some 20,000 new jobs to those same mixed-use buildings, could qualify Issaquah as an official King County regional population growth area. Some see this as a good idea. Others see it as a disastrous vision, totally out of place for this valley.
Other considerations aside, if the current draft plan is approved, this new population will need schools.
If this growth target was zoned into a mature city such as Bellevue, the schools needed by 23,000 could easily be accommodated as its school district has been closing surplus schools for years.
But if Issaquah is “successful” in attracting this population, the school district will be required to provide three elementary schools, one middle school and three-fourths of a high school. Price tag for just the land — $75 million. (Source: EyesOnIssaquah.org)
Perhaps the district could provide us with the estimated total construction costs and how much will be paid by taxpayers versus impact fees so we can be better informed about long-range financial needs and future bonds as we vote on the current proposal.
And perhaps supporters of improving the current school system have an opinion to convey to Issaquah officials about unnecessarily placing such large additional demands on the school system and taxpayers.