Issaquah School Board honored as WSSDA board of distinction for fifth year

November 24, 2013

NEW — 6 a.m. Nov. 24, 2013

The Issaquah School Board was one of 15 entities in the state named as a Board of Distinction by the Washington State School Directors’ Association on Nov. 18.

It’s the fifth consecutive year Issaquah has earned the Board of Distinction honor. Issaquah’s board is comprised of Brian Deagle, Marnie Maraldo, Alison Meryweather, Anne Moore and Suzanne Weaver.

The other school boards that earned distinctions were Anacortes, Auburn, Ferndale, Franklin Pierce, Kent, Lake Stevens, Monroe, Port Angeles, Pullman, South Kitsap, Sunnyside, Tumwater, University Place and Vancouver.

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Marnie Maraldo will seek re-election

May 14, 2013

Issaquah School Board member Marnie Maraldo has announced that she will file for re-election this spring.

Maraldo, of Newcastle, occupies the District 2 seat, representing Newcastle and the southwest portion of the school district. She was elected to the board at the end of 2009, taking over for longtime member Connie Fletcher.

Marnie Maraldo

Marnie Maraldo

The Newcastle mother of two looks forward to continuing the work of managing the district through a challenging fiscal period, if re-elected, she said in a statement.

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Issaquah School Board seeks applicants for vacancy

January 22, 2013

A seat on the Issaquah School Board is up for grabs.

Board member Chad Magendanz left the position when he resigned Jan. 9 in order to start his new job in the state Legislature.

The remaining four board members have 90 days to appoint a new representative from Issaquah’s fourth district, from the Issaquah Highlands through the downtown corridor south to Tiger Mountain and Mirrormont.

All voting-aged residents of that area are invited to apply for the position by 4 p.m. Feb. 14. The new member would need to serve the remainder of Magendanz’s term, through November 2013.

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Issaquah School Board preserves Liberty High School’s block schedule

December 18, 2012

Steve Rasmussen

A celebratory cry gushed from the audience Dec. 12 as the Issaquah School Board voted 4-1 to preserve the eight-period block schedule at Liberty High School.

“The data to support a six-period day has always seemed to me to be weak,” board member Chad Magendanz said. “At this point, I think it is premature to make a change without a compelling case driving it.”

Since 1995, Liberty has used an eight-period block schedule where students take four 90-minute classes each day. Many in the school’s community like that eight periods give students more chances to explore electives. This, supporters of the block schedule say, cultivates creativity, innovation and a commitment to learning.

“I think we have something at Liberty, that is evidenced by the groundswell of feedback from the community, that says this is very valuable to us,” board President Brian Deagle said. “I don’t know how to measure it. We haven’t been measuring it, yet it’s been proposed that we get rid of it.”

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Issaquah School Board preserves Liberty High School’s block schedule

December 12, 2012

NEW — 10:40 p.m. Dec. 12, 2012

A celebratory cry gushed from the audience Wednesday night as the Issaquah School Board voted 4-1 to preserve the eight-period block schedule at Liberty High School.

“The data to support a six-period day has always seemed to me to be weak,” board member Chad Magendanz said. “At this point, I think it is premature to make a change without a compelling case driving it.”

Since 1995, Liberty has used an eight-period block schedule where students take four 90-minute classes each day. Many in the school’s community like that eight periods give students more chances to explore electives. This, supporters of the block schedule say, cultivates creativity, innovation and a commitment to learning.

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Issaquah School Board tackles long to-do list

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.

Marnie Maraldo

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.

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Refinancing bonds saves Issaquah School District $3.9 million

July 31, 2012

Steve Rasmussen

With the lowest interest rates in 40 years, the Issaquah School District saved nearly $4 million July 24 when it refinanced $41.73 million of bonds originally sold in 2006.

The district also sold $55 million worth of new bonds that day.

“The sale went as good as we could have expected it,” said Jake Kuper, the district’s chief of Finance and Operations. “Not only is it a good time to build but it’s a good time to borrow, so it’s a double bonus.”

Kuper, Superintendent Steve Rasmussen and school board members Marnie Maraldo, Anne Moore and Suzanne Weaver attended the 6:45 a.m. sale of the bonds at Seattle-Northwest Securities, which assisted in the sale. Refinancing the nearly $42 million of old bonds meant the interest rate when down from 5 percent to 1.89 percent, meaning that $3.9 million will be saved over the next 10 years.

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Issaquah School District administrators tackle homework, grading practices

July 17, 2012

School may be out, but homework is on a lot of people’s minds.

Superintendent Steve Rasmussen announced his plans, at the Issaquah School Board meeting June 20 to make homework and grading practices a hot topic of conversation during the 2012-13 school year.

“This is a topic that has piqued the interest of parents, and we agree,” he said. “I am confident that at the end of the year we will have a different appreciation for what homework is and how it connects to its purposes.”

Rasmussen laid out a plan for the homework conversation that is set to begin with the board’s retreat Aug. 21-22 and continue through next June. The first step in his plan is to review the district’s homework policy, look at Issaquah’s common homework practices, discuss the goal of homework and begin to make policy recommendations. Also on the list is gathering research on the topic and discussing the connection between homework and grading.

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Growth is focus as City Council, Issaquah School Board meet

May 1, 2012

City and Issaquah School District leaders pledged coordination and cooperation as the city outlines a bold plan to add thousands of residences in the decades ahead.

Chad Magendanz

Discussion about the Central Issaquah Plan — a proposal to transform more than 900 acres near Interstate 90 and state Route 900 — and possible changes to the school district, such as redrawing boundaries for schools to accommodate population shifts, dominated the annual joint meeting April 24.

City Council and Issaquah School Board members, plus Mayor Ava Frisinger and Superintendent Steve Rasmussen and other officials, gathered at Mandarin Garden a week after school district voters approved a $219 million bond to fuel a school construction boom. The planned projects include major changes for schools in downtown Issaquah.

The groups, seated beneath red lanterns and arranged around lazy Susans, sipped tea and nibbled on fried rice and roast pork as discussion unfolded about long-term development plans. (The city hosted the meal and spent $311.24 on food and beverages.)

“Both organizations have gone from fast-growing organizations to more stable, mature organizations with different sets of issues,” Council President Tola Marts said. “So, now the challenge is how do we manage the remaining growth that we have?”

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Finances dominate discussion at Issaquah School Board retreat

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.

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