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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Issaquah schools superintendent receives 2.5 percent salary boost

August 2, 2014

NEW — 6 a.m. Aug. 2, 2014

The Issaquah School Board recently renewed the contract of Superintendent Ron Thiele and gave him a raise of 2.5 percent.

Thiele, who took over as head of the Issaquah School District in July 2013, will make $235,750 in the coming year. That’s up from $230,000 last year. The new contract was approved at the board’s June 26 meeting.

Board members cited several reasons for renewing Thiele’s contract, including his work to pass three levy measures in February, and helping to negotiate a new three-year collective bargaining agreement with the local teachers union.


Four candidates face off in 5th District primary

July 8, 2014

Voters will have four choices for state representative in the 5th Legislative District primary Aug. 5.

The two candidates who receive the most votes will run in the Nov. 4 general election.

Incumbent Republican Chad Magendanz will run again. He touts his expertise on educational issues and his willingness to reach across the aisle as reasons for residents to re-elect him.

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Issaquah School District superintendent’s contract renewed

July 1, 2014

The Issaquah School Board voted unanimously June 26 to renew the contract of Superintendent Ron Thiele, who just completed his first year in the position.

State law requires school boards to review their superintendent’s contract on an annual basis prior to July 1. Issaquah board members cited several reasons for retaining Thiele, including his work to help the district pass three levy measures in February.

The board felt his leadership in that area and his leading the charge during that campaign was strong, board President Marnie Maraldo said.

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School renames gym after beloved teacher, coach

June 17, 2014

Chuck Lee has left a lasting legacy for his colleagues and students at Beaver Lake Middle School, with or without any kind of tribute on their part.

Lee, 58, died Feb. 6 after a decadelong battle with cancer. He’d made an impression on countless individuals during his teaching and coaching career in the Issaquah School District, which spanned 24 years.

The Beaver Lake community mourned Lee’s passing, holding a remembrance ceremony earlier this spring where students and teachers spoke of their favorite memories with Lee. He spent 13 years at the school, teaching math and coaching basketball.

By Neil Pierson One of Chuck Lee’s favorite activities was the annual International Talk Like a Pirate Day, which gave him license to don a funny hat and an eye patch.

By Neil Pierson
One of Chuck Lee’s favorite activities was the annual International Talk Like a Pirate Day, which gave him license to don a funny hat and an eye patch.

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Kelly Munn receives leadership award

June 17, 2014

The Issaquah School District honored Kelly Munn with its Community Leadership Award at the Washington School Administrator Association’s regional awards ceremony held at the Puget Sound ESD on May 23.

Kelly Munn

Kelly Munn

Munn has been an active volunteer in the Issaquah School District and an advocate for public education for many years. Her leadership has been instrumental in helping the district maintain high quality programs and meet the demands of continued growth as co-chair of the Volunteers for Issaquah Schools Community Bond and Levy Committee, according to a news release.

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Issaquah schools move forward with bond sale

June 3, 2014

The Issaquah School Board approved the sale of voter-approved bonds from April 2012 during its May 28 meeting.

Voters approved a $219.1 million bond two years ago, and the board has previously approved two bond sales toward construction and upgrades at various district schools. The third bond sale installment is worth $55 million, and the board elected to approve the sale now because of what were deemed historically low interest rates.

Issaquah school board approves changes to Liberty modernization plan

June 3, 2014

The Issaquah School Board approved a pair of change order requests regarding Liberty High School’s modernization project at its May 28 meeting.

The first change added more than $116,000 to a contract with Babbit Neuman Construction Co. More than 20 changes were needed to comply with various project specifications and building codes, including some railings, ductwork, fire extinguishers and sprinklers.

The second change added nearly $9,000 to a contract with construction firm Kassel & Associates. Four minor upgrades were approved, including the addition of fire-retardant plywood on a wall assembly, and vent piping for a sink.

The additional money being spent is within the budgets of both projects.

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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