November 7, 2012
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.
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.
October 2, 2012
UPDATED — 11:20 a.m. Oct. 2, 2012
Police have arrested a suspect in the Sept. 20 online shooting threat against Skyline High School students, a King County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman confirmed Tuesday morning.
Sgt. Cindi West, spokeswoman for the agency, said police arrested a suspect in the case, but could not release additional details, pending a 12:30 p.m. news conference at Sammamish City Hall.
The suspect is a former Skyline student, Principal Lisa Hechtman announced in a message to parents late Tuesday morning.
In the post about Skyline, a still-unidentified online bulletin board user threatened to unleash a Columbine-style attack and shoot students on campus.
Issaquah School District administrators characterized the decision to close the Sammamish school as a precaution, and the school reopened Sept. 21, albeit at a later time and as extra police officers, parent volunteers and counselors greeted students.
August 28, 2012
Over the course of two days the Issaquah School Board and several of the district’s administrative members met Aug. 21-22 for the Board Cabinet Retreat.
With participants shuffling between the library at Issaquah Valley Elementary School and a meeting space in the administration building, it wasn’t as glamorous as the name would suggest. Nor was it held in the resort town of Leavenworth, as is the choice of other school districts.
What it was, though, was 14 hours of discussion regarding everything from the new teacher/principal evaluation pilot program to scheduling to the importance of science and math, and the consumption of a whole lot of M&Ms.
August 28, 2012
Chad Magendanz has stepped down as president of the Issaquah School Board. Brian Deagle has been named Magendanz’s predecessor, effective immediately.
The announcement came at the end of the Aug. 22 school board meeting. Magendanz is running as a Republican for the 5th Legislative District seat in the state House of Representatives and cited the upcoming political debate season as his reason for passing the gavel.
“The only person who can really speak for the board is the board president,” he said. “And there was concern that there would be confusion when I talk in a debate as to who I’m speaking for — the board or myself.”
He added that the beginning of the school year seemed like the most logical point to step down.
August 14, 2012
“Flat” was the key word Aug. 8, when the Issaquah School District rolled out its draft budget for the 2012-13 academic year to the tune of $167.46 million.
But it wasn’t necessarily a bad word. In this case, flat means not only no major leaps in spending or state funding but also no major program reductions or changes in class-size allocation.
“Who thought flat state funding would be an exciting thing?” asked Jake Kuper, chief of finance and operations for the district.
When the recession hit in 2008, state funding for schools began a steep downward spiral that totaled a nearly $16 million loss for the district. During the 2008-09 school year the state paid 68 percent of the district’s bills. Since then, that rate has dropped to 60.8 percent and there, Kuper said, is where it remains stagnant.
June 12, 2012
In an area like the Eastside, where science and technology put food on many families’ tables, the Issaquah School Board is debating whether students are studying enough science.
Some board members say the district should adopt tougher standards while others are concerned about putting unnecessary pressure on some students.
During two rounds of discussions, the board has considered requiring all students to take three years of science, instead of the state-mandated two years.
“We need to start with whether we think the minimum bar we have is sufficient or if we should raise the bar for everyone,” said board member Brian Deagle at a May 9 work session. “I’m in the camp that we should raise the bar on what it means to earn, in Issaquah, a high school diploma.”
April 19, 2012
NEW — 12:45 p.m. April 19, 2012
Prior to the election, supporters said they would need about 14,000 “yes” votes in order for the Issaquah School District’s $219 million bond issue to pass.
They nearly had that number in hand when just the first round of election results were released late Tuesday, the day of the election. As of Wednesday, voters cleared the 14,000 ballot hurdle.
As of Wednesday, according to King County Elections, the bond has earned 14,763 votes in favor compared to 6,419 against. That translates to 69.7 percent in favor; 30.3 percent against.
The district needed a supermajority of 60 percent of the ballots cast in order for the issue to pass. If needed, the county will post new voter tallies each afternoon. Elections officials said the special ballot will be certified April 27.
March 27, 2012
From the beginning of the discussions over the upcoming school bond issue, Issaquah School District officials have admitted funding for millions in improvements to athletic fields in the district might be a hard sell to voters.
“We’re not doing anything outlandish,” said Steve Crawford, district director of capital improvements.
Crawford made the comment in September, answering questions from the school board prior to its vote to place the bond issue on the ballot.
At the same meeting, board members talked about issues of equity, saying they couldn’t appear to be playing favorites among the schools if they expected the bond to pass. One chief example held up was the plan to renovate the stadium at Skyline High School. The revamping will put the school on equal footing with other high schools in the district, said board member Chad Magendanz, who has since become president of the board.
February 21, 2012
Finances and board “linkages” were two of several items on the agenda when the Issaquah School Board held an afternoon-long retreat Feb. 8.
The big question is whether or not the Legislature will slice basic education funding during the current biennium, said Jake Kuper, district chief of finances and operations.
In the past, Gov. Chris Gregoire has said the state needs to close a $2 billion budget shortfall. According to information previously released by the Issaquah School District, Gregoire’s proposed cuts could reduce funding to area schools by $2.2 million. The Legislature has the last word on any budget shuffling and the state House of Representatives may release its version of a new budget as soon as the week of Feb. 13, Kuper said.
“I believe we will have reduced revenues from the state,” he added.
January 31, 2012
Larry Ishmael, a former Issaquah School Board member and Republican challenger to U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee in 2006 and 2008, is running for Congress in the redrawn 1st Congressional District.
The independent candidate eschewed a party label for the latest run, but said voters seek a candidate unattached to the political establishment in either party.
“The reasons I ran in 2006 are the same reasons I am running today, bitter partisan politics have destroyed Congress’s ability to accomplish anything for the American people,” he said in a statement. “The only way to break the cycle of pain is to elect more independents that are willing to represent their constituents in Congress and not their political party or special interest groups.”
Ishmael faltered in the contests against the incumbent Democrat, garnering 32 percent against Inslee in 2006 and 2008 — both strong years for Democrats in Washington and nationwide. Inslee is running for governor against Republican state Attorney General Rob McKenna.