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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Chad Magendanz enters race for second term

May 20, 2014

Chad Magendanz

Chad Magendanz

Rep. Chad Magendanz (R-5th Issaquah) wants to continue putting education front and center.

After a busy freshman term in the state House, Magendanz said he has learned a lot and had a great time doing so. He kicked off his re-election campaign May 9 to seek another two years in the Legislature.

“I’m having a blast,” he said. “It’s very rewarding. It can be frustrating, but when you connect with people, it’s really rewarding.”

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Issaquah High School students receive C-SPAN prize, special visit

April 8, 2014

C-SPAN brought awards and a traveling studio to Issaquah High School students April 4.

Seniors Olivia Marcus and Paige Montague won third prize in the network’s 2014 Studentcam video competition, in which high school students tailor a message to Congress on what they see as the country’s most pressing issue.

By Peter Clark Olivia Marcus (left), one of Issaquah High School’s two third-prize winners in C-SPAN’s annual Studentcam competition, listens to C-SPAN Marketing Manager Heath Neiderer explain how the visiting media bus educates the public about the network’s public service.

By Peter Clark
Olivia Marcus (left), one of Issaquah High School’s two third-prize winners in C-SPAN’s annual Studentcam competition, listens to C-SPAN Marketing Manager Heath Neiderer explain how the visiting media bus educates the public about the network’s public service.

The duo submitted a video, “Clean Energy Legislation: A Message to the U.S. Congress,” which was chosen as one of 13 third-place winners from the western United States. They won framed awards and $750.

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April 8, 2014

Tiger Mountain school rethink can work

The Issaquah School Board is planning some big changes for Tiger Mountain Community High School. Some of these changes are necessary, but the disruption of the community is not.

Tiger Mountain has about 100 students who would generally be considered “at risk.” The school tries to reach these students with nontraditional methods in an attempt to keep them engaged.

The attempt isn’t working as well as it should. The school’s graduation rate of 37 percent shows this. Whatever methods district officials are attempting are actually reaching only a fraction of the students.

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State Rep. Chad Magendanz moves up to leadership position in House Education Committee

April 4, 2014

NEW — 6 a.m. April 4, 2014

Freshman State Rep. Chad Magendanz (R-5th District, Issaquah) was named the new ranking Republican on the House Education Committee March 31.

Chad Magendanz

Chad Magendanz

The announcement came after Rep. Cathy Dahlquist (R-31st District, Enumclaw) resigned her committee position.

Magendanz moved up from the committee’s assistant ranking Republican, a position he has held since he was sworn in as a legislator.

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Board eyes new closure policy for Issaquah schools

April 1, 2014

The Issaquah School Board is considering a new policy pertaining to school closures, which could have an impact on the proposal to shut down Tiger Mountain Community High School.

At its March 26 meeting, the board conducted the first reading of a policy that aims to clarify the process for closing a school, including the steps the superintendent must take and the timeline for soliciting public input.

The board could adopt the new policy at its April 23 meeting.

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Here’s to getting to know you — at long last

April 1, 2014

I’ve been working for this newspaper for 10 months, so it seems high time I got around to introducing myself.

To be perfectly honest, I’ve never been a big fan of reporters who write about themselves, even in opinion pieces. My job is to tell your stories, not my own. But hey, most people are a little curious about the guy hanging around the school board meetings and the high-school football games, so I’m happy to oblige.

Neil Pierson Press reporter

Neil Pierson
Press reporter

I grew up in Spokane and matriculated to the fine institution of Washington State University to get my journalism degree. Basically, it’s the only school I ever wanted to attend because half my family did as well. My dad, aunt and uncle all earned pharmacy degrees in Pullman. For three years, I lived in the same dormitory my grandfather did in the 1940s.

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Tiger Mountain community speaks out on school’s possible closure

March 18, 2014

Last month’s news that Tiger Mountain Community High School could be closed has sparked sadness, anger and shock among students and parents at the Issaquah School District’s alternative high school.

The Issaquah School Board began publicly discussing a possible closure Feb. 12, and droves of Tiger Mountain community members showed up for that meeting. Several people returned to speak to the board at its March 12 meeting.

Neil Schmidt, who graduated from Tiger Mountain last year, said he was “dumbfounded” and “appalled” the district would consider closing the school, which has provided a nontraditional learning environment for high-school students since 1991. The school currently has an enrollment of about 100.

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