Chad Magendanz readies for transition from Issaquah School Board to Legislature

November 7, 2012

By Warren Kagarise

NEW — 3 p.m. Nov. 7, 2012

Republican Chad Magendanz triumphed in the race to represent Issaquah and the 5th Legislative District in the state House of Representatives, and in process, set up a vacancy on the Issaquah School Board.

Chad Magendanz

Magendanz cruised to a comfortable lead against North Bend Democrat David Spring in the initial election results released Tuesday, 55 percent to 45 percent. The candidates vied to succeed retiring state Rep. Glenn Anderson, a Republican and lawmaker for a dozen years.

“I’m really looking forward to getting out of campaign mode — which has been the focus for the last year — and rolling up my sleeves and really getting into the tough problems to solve down in Olympia,” Magendanz said in a Wednesday interview.

The district is a combination of suburban and rural areas stretched from Issaquah to Snoqualmie Pass, and from Carnation to Black Diamond.

Throughout the campaign, education dominated the debate between Magendanz and Spring.

The recent state Supreme Court ruling in McCleary v. State of Washington ordered the Legislature to fully fund basic education by 2018. The ruling often factored into discussions as Magendanz and Spring canvassed for votes.

“We’ve already made some pretty significant cuts, so there’s not a lot of fat left,” Magendanz said. “We’ve got our challenges ahead.”

In Olympia, he is likely to inherit Anderson’s committee assignments — Education Appropriations & Oversight, Education and Technology, Energy & Communications.

The election outcome also creates a vacancy on the Issaquah School Board. Magendanz intends to resign from the board to serve in the Legislature.

Members appointed Magendanz to a vacant seat the board in October 2008. Magendanz ran unopposed for the seat the next year.

In September, Magendanz stepped down as school president and handed the reins to Brian Deagle, as the House campaign demanded greater commitments.

Magendanz plans to step down from the board in early January, not long before the legislative session starts.

The board then calls for applicants from community members and, after interviews, should select a replacement by mid-winter. Magendanz’s district includes the Issaquah Highlands, Tiger Mountain and downtown Issaquah.

Magendanz said decisions made in Olympia often caused frustration for Issaquah School District leaders.

“I had walked into the job thinking that local control was going to allow me to have a much bigger impact on the decisions that were being made for kids in the Issaquah School District,” he said. “It didn’t take long to realize that the decisions were being made where the money was spent. Yes, we do locally fund — unfortunately — a good chunk of our education with local levy dollars, but really, the decisions being made for our kids are being made down in Olympia.”

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