Proposed 2012 King County budget touts savings

October 18, 2011

Residents call for human services support at local budget hearing

As the King County Council begins to listen to hours of public testimony at a series of budget hearings, one overall theme became clear at its Oct. 13 session — support human services now, before it’s too late.

Kathy Lambert

Derek Franklin, a Sammamish resident and representative of the Alliance of Eastside Agencies, said the county must begin to formulate a dedicated and stable long-term funding source for human services, such as those aimed at protecting residents from homelessness, domestic violence and inadequate legal counsel.

“Although sometimes obscured by the high socioeconomic status of the Eastside, human service needs here are quite high,” he said during a public hearing at Pacific Cascade Middle School near Issaquah. “We urge the budget committee to establish a long-term fix for the human services safety net. It’s been significantly dismantled over the years by budget cuts, and people … are beginning to fall through the cracks.”

King County Executive Dow Constantine’s 2012 budget proposal earned praise from County Council members for eschewing cuts to services in the general fund — elections, law enforcement and other basic government functions. The overall budget proposal is $5.3 billion, including $648 million in the general fund.

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Suzanne Weaver focuses on students as board member

October 11, 2011

During her four years on the job, Issaquah School Board member and Sammamish resident Suzanne Weaver said that the board has done a worthy job of keeping its focus on student achievement and success.

Suzanne Weaver

“It’s work that I enjoy and I want to continue doing it,” Weaver said of serving on the board.

Holding the District 5 seat, Weaver is being challenged in the November election by Issaquah resident Brian Neville.

District 5 includes the northwest corner of Issaquah around Lake Sammamish as well as parts of the city of Sammamish. Although board candidates run for a specific geographic seat, voters from across the district cast ballots for all Issaquah School Board members. Members are elected to four-year terms.

Board members may request pay of $50 per meeting, but the current board has chosen not to accept that money, according to Sara Niegowski, district executive director of communications.

Even as she praised the district for keeping students center stage in a time of massive financial distractions, Weaver said leaders need to deal with those financial hurdles.

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Kiwanis funds community aid through Salmon Days dinners

September 27, 2011

Key and Builders club members were among those helping out at last year’s Kiwanis Salmon Days booth. Contributed

Thanks to the great weather during last year’s celebration, the Kiwanis Club of Issaquah sold 2,500 pounds of salmon in the course of the city’s annual Salmon Days Festival event.

The community service club even ran out at about 3 p.m. the second day of the festival, according to incoming Kiwanis President Glenn Hall, who is running the group’s booth at this year’s Salmon Days.

Hall said all that fish translates to volunteers having served up about 2,200 dinners at the 2010 Kiwanis booth. Complete with coleslaw and a drink, over the years, the dinners have helped the Kiwanis raise an average of about $17,000 annually.

Hall said he believes the local Kiwanis have offered dinners every year since the inception of Salmon Days. Kiwanis organizers hope the weather this year again will be of the sunny, dry variety and they have upped their usual Salmon Day fish order to 2,500 pounds.

In past years, the Kiwanis ordered 2,000 pounds of fish and then bought more on Saturday depending on sales. The fish is grilled over alder.

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District students score above state average on Washington math tests

September 27, 2011

As Issaquah School District students headed back to class Aug. 30, state education officials were releasing the first results of a newly required math test.

The state also put out final numbers on which schools were able, or not able, to meet annual improvement goals set out by the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

Last spring, Washington students in algebra and geometry classes took a state test immediately at the end of their course work. The system is known as “end of course,” or “EOC” testing. It replaced the standardized math test students formerly took near the end of the school year.

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County to host budget forum at Pacific Cascade Middle School

September 27, 2011

Citizens can offer input on King County’s 2012 budget next month at a local forum.

County Councilwoman Julia Patterson, leader of the council’s Budget Leadership Team, announced Pacific Cascade Middle School and other sites as locations for budget discussions. The budget team is seeking input on County Executive Dow Constantine’s proposed 2012 budget.

Issaquah’s representative, Councilwoman Kathy Lambert, and Councilwoman Jane Hague and Councilman Joe McDermott also serve on the budget team.

“These public hearings are an opportunity for the residents of King County to make their voices heard on the issues that matter most to them,” Patterson said in a statement.

The budget team is scheduled to collect input from citizens at a series of meetings:

  • 6:30 p.m. Oct. 13 — Pacific Cascade Middle School, 24635 S.E. Issaquah-Fall City Road
  • 6:30 p.m. Oct. 19 — Maleng Regional Justice Center, Courtroom 3F, 401 Fourth Ave. N., Kent
  • 6:30 p.m. Oct. 25 — King County Courthouse, County Council Chambers, 10th Floor, 516 Third Ave., Seattle

The county plans to offer coverage of the meetings on King County TV, channel 22 on Broadstripe and Comcast.

County to host budget forum at Pacific Cascade Middle School

September 20, 2011

NEW — 11:30 a.m. Sept. 20, 2011

Citizens can offer input on King County’s 2012 budget next month at a local forum.

County Councilwoman Julia Patterson, leader of the council’s Budget Leadership Team, announced Pacific Cascade Middle School and other sites for budget forums. The budget team is seeking input on County Executive Dow Constantine’s proposed 2012 budget.

Issaquah’s representative, Councilwoman Kathy Lambert, Councilwoman Jane Hague and Councilman Joe McDermott also serve on the budget team.

“King County Council must adopt a balanced budget for 2012 that protects the public and preserves the most critical functions of county government,” Patterson said in a statement Monday. “These public hearings are an opportunity for the residents of King County to make their voices heard on the issues that matter most to them.”

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Issaquah school officials fight proposed county ban on rural campuses

August 2, 2011

Local school officials worry an 80-acre plot bought for $3.3 million in 2006 will become largely worthless to the district if King County officials move forward with a proposed ban on new school buildings in rural areas.

Known as the Winterbrook Farm site, the undeveloped land sits at 21207 S.E. May Valley Road, outside the city’s designated urban growth area.

At the time the school board approved the property purchase, school officials indicated the farmland could become home to an elementary and middle school. The idea was to alleviate foreseeable crowding in the attendance area of Liberty High School. Still, the board did not anticipate a need for new schools feeding into Liberty prior to at least 2014.

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Maple Hills Elementary gets new principal

July 5, 2011

A new Eagle has landed at Maple Hills Elementary School.

Sondra Maier, an elementary school teacher in the Federal Way School District, will take the reins as principal of the school in July.

Former Maple Hills Principal Monique Beane announced in June that she would move to Pacific Cascade Middle School, where she would work as assistant principal.

Shortly after Beane’s departure, Issaquah School District administrators began the search for her replacement. Parents filled out surveys online, indicating their preference for a principal who promoted transparency, collaboration and high standards, according to an email Superintendent Steve Rasmussen sent to parents June 29.

“I believe we have found those qualities — in abundance — in Ms. Maier,” he wrote.

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Maple Hills Elementary School gets new principal

June 29, 2011

NEW — 4 p.m. June 29, 2011

A new eagle has landed at Maple Hills Elementary School.

Sondra Maier, an elementary school teacher in the Federal Way School District, will take the reigns as principal of the school in July.

The former Maple Hills principal, Monique Beane, announced in June that she would move to Pacific Cascade Middle School, where she would work as assistant principal.

Shortly after Beane’s departure, Issaquah School District administrators began the search for her replacement. Parents filled out surveys online, indicating their preference for a principal who promoted transparency, collaboration and high standards, said an email district Superintendent Steve Rasmussen sent to parents on Wednesday.

“I believe we have found those qualities — in abundance — in Ms. Maier,” he wrote.

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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.

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