School district makes $70,000 in change orders

September 23, 2014

Nearly $70,000 in change orders have been made to the construction projects at Apollo and Issaquah Valley elementary schools.

A contract with Babbit Neuman Construction Co. has been increased by $68,661.32. The revised contract total of $12,165,180.02 is within the project budget.

The amount includes siding, combining two classrooms into a single large classroom and changing faucets in restrooms to automatic faucets.

Both schools held ribbon-cutting ceremonies earlier this month, commemorating the official end of modernization efforts that were approved by voters in 2012.

Issaquah School District finishes school projects, delays others

August 26, 2014

Staff members, parents and students at Apollo and Issaquah Valley elementary schools have been waiting years for their buildings to be refurbished, and their wishes will be granted when school starts Sept. 3.

By Greg Farrar A lighted reader board has been put up at Issaquah Valley Elementary School.

By Greg Farrar
A lighted reader board has been put up at Issaquah Valley Elementary School.

The two elementary schools were major pieces of a $219 million bond measure that Issaquah School District voters approved in April 2012. Issaquah Valley and Apollo received about $6.6 million each for similar modernization projects that focused on creating additional classroom spaces, improving building security and upgrading existing spaces for a continued influx of new students.

The district is expecting to add 350 students in the 2014-15 year, and projections released last year showed the school system could grow by more than 2,800 students over the next 30 years.

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Issaquah schools budget set to receive slight boost

August 19, 2014

The Issaquah School District will receive an additional $5.4 million from the state government, which equates to revenue growth of less than 1 percent in the 2014-15 school year.

Public school districts and the state Legislature continue to battle over the McCleary decision of 2012, which said lawmakers weren’t fully funding basic education costs and called for them to rectify the situation.

The state increased funding by about $1 billion for its 2013-15 biennial budget, but that isn’t quite cutting it when it comes to meeting the requirements of the McCleary decision, school officials said.

“Though a billion dollars sounds like a lot, when you split it over two years and divide it by 295 school districts, you see it translates to a rather minute increase in the proportion of state revenue,” said Jake Kuper, the Issaquah district’s chief of finance and operations.

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Apollo students pen book about the ABCs of firefighters

June 24, 2014

Kittens, ladders, sirens and zombies — yes, zombies — all have something in common. They each make an appearance in the Apollo Elementary School student-penned book “Firefighter Nozzlehead Letter by Letter.”

At just 7 and 8 years old, Jamie Burcheci’s second-grade students are now published authors. They unveiled at a June 17 celebration their picture book about what firefighters do.

By Christina Corrales-Toy Jamie Burcheci and her second-grade students celebrate their new published book, ‘Firefighter Nozzlehead Letter by Letter.’

By Christina Corrales-Toy
Jamie Burcheci and her second-grade students celebrate their new published book, ‘Firefighter Nozzlehead Letter by Letter.’

Firefighters use ladders to save kittens, sound the siren when someone is in trouble and even take down zombies with water hoses, according to the book.

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Apollo student authors debut firefighter book collaboration on June 17

June 10, 2014

Second-graders in Jamie Burcheci’s class at Apollo Elementary School are now published authors.

The students recently worked with Eastside Fire & Rescue firefighter Tim Castner to write and illustrate a book about firefighters called “Nozzlehead: What Firefighters Do.”

By Greg Farrar Tim Castner, Eastside Fire & Rescue firefighter, visits an area elementary school in April during a career day to show firefighting tools to youngsters.

By Greg Farrar
Tim Castner, Eastside Fire & Rescue firefighter, visits an area elementary school in April during a career day to show firefighting tools to youngsters.

The publishers and students will hold a book release and signing celebration from 10:30-11:10 a.m. June 17 at the school, 15025 S.E. 117th St., Renton.

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Newcastle Elementary School principal is leaving

June 8, 2014

NEW — 6 a.m. June 8, 2014

Newcastle Elementary School Principal Marla Newton announced May 30 that she is leaving at the end of the school year.

Newton has accepted a position in the Federal Way School District.

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Apollo, Issaquah Valley budgets revised

May 27, 2014

The ongoing construction projects at Apollo and Issaquah Valley elementary schools had details revised for a third time at the Issaquah School Board’s May 14 meeting.

A revised contract of $10,318,949 was approved at the meeting, an increase of $141,622 from the previous amount. Babbit Neuman Construction Co. is the contractor on the two schools.

The revisions include changing storage rooms into small instructional spaces, sound-system changes in multipurpose classrooms, and the addition of call buttons in classrooms and activity spaces at both schools.

The revised contract total is within the board’s original budget.

Federal waiver loss could affect schools

May 20, 2014

Last month’s U.S. Department of Education decision to revoke Washington state’s No Child Left Behind waiver is starting to filter down to school districts and individual buildings.

At the Issaquah School Board’s May 14 meeting, officials discussed the loss of the waiver, which was officially announced April 24. Washington had been one of 43 states with the waiver, allowing it to deviate from NCLB, a nationwide accountability system for public schools that has been in place since 2001.

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Elementary economics

May 6, 2014

Apollo students learn real-life lessons in Rocket City

About a dozen little heads peered out from a row of oversized cardboard boxes, directing their attention toward a classroom door at Apollo Elementary School.

Moments later, a line of third-graders from a visiting class entered the room, and the quiet anticipation was quickly replaced with the busy wheeling and dealing of a marketplace.

By Christina Corrales-Toy Jenna Silvestri, of Newcastle, gives a customer change, after recording a sale in the simulated town of Rocket City at Apollo Elementary School.

By Christina Corrales-Toy
Jenna Silvestri, of Newcastle, gives a customer change, after recording a sale in the simulated town of Rocket City at Apollo Elementary School.

Such is life in Rocket City, a bustling simulated town, marked by cardboard shops and led by an elected student mayor in Lauren Molnar’s third-grade class.

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Local schools could lose budget flexibility

April 29, 2014

The Issaquah School District is likely to lose some flexibility in budgeting next year.

State officials announced April 24 that Washington would lose a waiver it has been receiving from the federal government which allowed the state flexibility under portions of the No Child Left Behind law.

Under the law, 100 percent of students need to be at their grade level standard in both reading and math by this year. For the past few years, the federal government has granted more than 40 states waivers from the requirement.

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