School renovation is another priority for $219 million bond

March 20, 2012

Susan Mundell, Apollo Elementary School principal, checks some deterioration on a two-unit portable classroom dating from 1995, the oldest of three on the school grounds. By Greg Farrar

For Liberty High School, passage of the April 17 Issaquah School District bond would mean completion of the reconstruction and modernization plan now under way thanks to a 2006 voter-approved bond.

At the same time, Apollo and Issaquah Valley elementary schools would receive sizable space additions, making room for 120 additional students at each building. Both schools would benefit from some much-needed maintenance, according to the principals of each school.

Outside of schools being rebuilt or transplanted, Liberty, Apollo and Issaquah Valley are the three individual school facilities that would receive the most attention in terms of dollar value should the district win passage of its current bond proposal.

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$219 million school bond could pick up tab for carpet, construction

March 6, 2012

Voting by mail in the weeks leading up to April 17, roughly 58,000 registered voters in the Issaquah School District will have the chance to decide whether the schools can sell $219 million in bonds to pay for major renovation and maintenance projects throughout the district.

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Issaquah School District to offer free preschool classes

January 17, 2012

The Issaquah School District is offering a chance for parents of preschool-aged children to enroll their youngsters in Early Childhood Education classes at no cost to the families.

The district is looking for typically developing youngsters to be part of Early Education classes that serve children with special needs at Apollo, Discovery and Sunset elementary schools.

Each classroom may have up to 12 children with special needs along with three typically developing peers – who will pay no cost to participate in the preschool program. Research shows that such combined learning opportunities benefit both special-needs and typically developing children. Students must be at least 3 years old by April 15 to participate.

Any interested parent can pick up an application and get more information at the main offices of any of the three elementary schools involved. Applications are due Feb. 10; peer volunteer screening is scheduled for Feb. 15.

Apollo Elementary pulls some strings to host big Red Ribbon Week

October 11, 2011

Local and federal agencies help spread healthy lifestyle,  anti-drug message 

Representatives of the King County Sheriff’s Office greet students outside Apollo Elementary School. By Tom Corrigan

Ultimately, the topic at hand was serious.

But even the adults in the crowd outside Apollo Elementary School on Oct. 5 seemed to be enjoying themselves.

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Press Editorial

October 11, 2011

Complex school bond will challenge voters

The Issaquah School Board has postponed the vote for a school bond from February until April, at the request of the campaign committee. It was the right decision. It will take every minute from now until April to convince voters that this $219 million bond should be approved — or not.

Heading the list of controversies will be the $82 million to rebuild Clark Elementary and Issaquah Middle schools so the two student populations can then switch places. At the same time, Tiger Mountain Community High School, home to about 100 students, will also be relocated — another $3.9 million.

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Education opportunities grow in student gardens

August 23, 2011

Sunny Hills Elementary School first-grader Digant Dash (left) plants flower bulbs in the school’s first-grade garden with fourth-graders Derek Chao and Spencer Bernsten. By Jane Ulrich

Inch by inch, row by row, students are planting lettuce, herbs and broccoli in their school gardens.

This fall, teachers are transforming gardens into outdoor classrooms as students pick up trowels and learn about drip irrigation systems.

Dozens of schools incorporate gardening into their curriculum or have gardening clubs, including Apollo, Cascade Ridge, Challenger, Clark, Creekside, Discovery, Endeavour, Grand Ridge, Issaquah Valley, Maple Hills and Sunny Hills elementary schools; Issaquah and Pine Lake middle schools; and Liberty and Tiger Mountain Community high schools.

“I think the outdoors is just a natural place that kids want to be,” Sunny Hills fourth-grade teacher Jane Ulrich said.

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Past bond ushers in school renovation projects

August 23, 2011

In February 2006, Issaquah School District voters approved a $241.8 million bond issue to fund new construction and renovations around the district.

Maywood Middle School is being expanded and modernized. sky-pix aerial photography

The schools are following the plan laid out to voters with one exception, according to information on the district website.

In early 2007, the district acted to redirect construction dollars originally earmarked to fund construction of a new middle school, the district’s fifth. Because of changed enrollment and other factors, officials decided, rather than build a new school, they would convert the Pacific Cascade Freshman Campus into a full-blown middle school beginning in fall 2010. As a result, the Issaquah and Skyline high school campuses were revamped to include space for new freshmen.

Funded by that 2006 bond issue, here are some of the projects still under way in the district.

“The biggies are all down on the south end this year,” said Sara Niegowski, district executive director of communications.

• Planners slated Maywood Middle School in Renton for a modernization and expansion project. According to the latest construction update from the district this month, Maywood’s old administration/commons area and counseling offices are gone, with construction of replacement facilities under way. Demolition of the parking lots and sidewalks are nearing completion with rebuilding scheduled to have already started. Grading of new parking areas has begun.

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Issaquah School District to request bond in February

June 28, 2011

The Issaquah School Board has agreed to put a bond before voters Feb. 14.

Board members are still reviewing the contents and cost of the bond, but agreed to decide on both by late September, giving community supporters four months to campaign.

A bond is a property tax that pays for school construction and repairs. Money from bonds cannot be used for teacher salaries or for classroom supplies.

The last bond put before voters — a $241.87 million bond in February 2006 — passed with about 68 percent of the vote. All bonds need at least 60 percent approval to pass.

Some of the larger projects on the 2006 bond included the rebuilding of Issaquah High and Briarwood Elementary schools; the expansion of Skyline High School; the addition of Creekside Elementary School; and remodels at Maywood Middle and Liberty High schools.

District administrators had originally planned to ask voters for a bond in 2010, but decided to wait until 2012 because of the recession.

The proposed 2012 bond has projects for all of the district’s 24 schools, but the list has yet to be finalized.

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King County honors 11 Issaquah district ‘green’ schools

June 28, 2011

Thanks to the “green” conservation work of staff members and students, the King County Green Schools Program is honoring 11 schools in the Issaquah School District.

In total, King County will honor 77 schools across the country, including the 11 schools in Issaquah.

The three-level Green Schools Program provides hands-on assistance, recycling containers and signs, and website tools to schools. In addition to the Green Schools Program, King County provides an elementary school assembly program, classroom workshops and support for student green teams.

The program has saved schools and the district money from successful waste reduction and recycling programs, and reducing energy and water use.

Seven schools in the district have achieved Level One status, including Apollo, Cougar Ridge, Issaquah Valley, Sunny Hills and Sunset elementary schools; Pacific Cascade Middle School; and Issaquah High School. Level One schools focus on waste reduction and recycling.

Two schools in the district achieved Level Two, including Creekside and Newcastle elementary schools, after students and teachers targeted energy conservation.

The other two schools — Issaquah Middle School and Liberty High School — completed Level Three after students and teachers worked on water conservation.

“Thanks to support from King County Green Schools and city of Issaquah, the students and staff at these 11 schools understand why conservation is important and are doing a great job conserving natural resources and dollars,” John Macartney, the district’s resource conservation manager, said in a news release.

King County honors 11 ‘green’ Issaquah district schools

June 16, 2011

NEW — 3 p.m. June 16, 2011

Thanks to the “green” conservation work of staff and students, King County Green Schools Program is honoring 11 schools in the Issaquah School District.

In total, the county will honor 77 schools across the country, including the 11 schools in Issaquah.

The three-level Green Schools Program provides hands-on assistance, recycling containers and signs and website tools to schools. In addition to the Green Schools Program, King County provides an elementary school assembly program, classroom workshops and support for student “green” teams.

The program has saved schools and the district money from successful waste reduction and recycling programs and reducing energy and water use.

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