December 28, 2010
Before earning a high school diploma, it’s no secret that students have to pass a number of required courses — 19 mandated by the state and a few others required by their school.
After a three-year study of high school credits, the Washington State Board of Education has recommended that the number of mandatory credits increase from 19 to 24. Such an endeavor would cost the state an estimated $188 million between 2011 and 2016, and would need financial approval from the state Legislature.
Most of the money would pay for teacher and counselor salaries. The state pays for five high school periods now, and it would have to fund six if the bill passed. About $28 million would pay for facility costs, since some schools would need extra science and art classrooms so their students could meet the new recommended requirements.
With a gaping state budget deficit estimated at $4.6 billion, some educators aren’t holding their breath while waiting for the bill to pass.
Regardless of funding, Washington is woefully behind in the number of credits it requires of its high school students. The board reviewed how Washington ranks compared to other states and found 16 states require more than the state’s three credits of math; 36 required more than two credits of science; 39 required more than two and a half credits of social studies; and 45 required more than three credits of English.
December 21, 2010
The Issaquah School District is slated to lose $3.17 million in the proposed budget Gov. Chris Gregoire released Dec. 15.
The 2011-13 proposed budget aims to address a $4.6 billion shortfall.
“This is on top more than $10 million in cuts from the last two budget cycles and a $1-million mid-year cut to our current budget from Saturday’s special session,” Issaquah Superintendent Steve Rasmussen said in a statement. “If I have said we were down to the bone before now, this starts cutting into the marrow of classroom operations.” Read more
December 14, 2010
The ballot measure to create a state income tax failed just about everywhere outside of left-leaning Seattle and Vashon Island — except for a precinct nestled along Lake Sammamish.
Initiative 1098 received ironclad support — 80 percent — in the precinct. The catch: King County records indicate the precinct has 11 registered voters; 10 participated in the Nov. 2 election.
The information about the Lake Sammamish precinct comes from a detailed analysis of the precinct results in the recent election. (Issaquah is carved into 30 precincts.)
The neighborhood-level data — released a month after the election — illustrates how the Issaquah electorate bucked state trends on some issues and rejected incumbents even as the candidates cruised to re-election.
The dueling liquor initiatives on the ballot, 1100 and 1105, received uneven support from Issaquah voters.
Initiative 1100, a liquor privatization measure backed by Issaquah-based Costco — the largest employer in the city — received broad backing in the city even as the measure came up short statewide.
Initiative 1105 failed in every Issaquah precinct and only managed to garner 35 percent of the vote statewide.
November 9, 2010
Both parties highlight successes in local contests
The national GOP tsunami carried Republicans into statehouses across the nation on Election Day, but in Washington, the wave amounted to little more than a gentle crest.
Republicans did not dislodge Democrats from majorities in the state Senate or state House of Representatives, but candidates faced a testier electorate, and Democrats face shrunken majorities in both chambers.
Despite strong candidates and a favorable political environment, Republicans did not reclaim a majority in Issaquah-area statehouse seats.
Democrats and Republicans trumpeted successes in the days after Election Day, as elections offices tallied the remaining ballots for statehouse contests.
November 9, 2010
NEW — 10:40 a.m. Nov. 9, 2010
Republican Diane Tebelius has conceded a close state House of Representatives race to incumbent Ross Hunter.
Tebelius dropped out of the 48th Legislative District race Monday, as Hunter led the contest by 2,477 votes.
“Today I called state Rep. Ross Hunter to congratulate him on his re-election,” Tebelius said in a statement. “Over the past few months we have had a vigorous debate over the future of our great state. Washington’s fiscal health must be restored by growing jobs in the private sector and not growing government.”
November 7, 2010
NEW — 6 a.m. Nov. 7, 2010
King County Elections concluded four days of ballot counts Friday, but the latest batch of results did little to clarify the outcome in still-unresolved Issaquah-area races.
The elections office added 74,265 ballots to the tally Friday to bring the total number of ballots counted to 569,743. The office reports the next results at 4:30 p.m. Monday.
Since Election Day, the tight state Senate race in the 48th Legislative District seesawed to favor Democrat Rodney Tom.
The incumbent lagged behind Republican challenger Gregg Bennett on election night, but Tom has built a 1,010-vote lead in days since.
Democrat Ross Hunter, a 48th District representative, solidified a lead against Republican Diane Tebelius. The margin between the candidates increased to 1,824 votes by Friday.
November 3, 2010
State Senate races remain too close to call
UPDATED — 5:55 p.m. Nov. 3, 2010
Republican Dino Rossi, a Sammamish resident and former Issaquah state senator, trailed incumbent U.S. Sen. Patty Murray by about 24,800 votes Wednesday afternoon, though the number could shift in the days ahead as mail ballots reach elections offices statewide.
November 2, 2010
UPDATED — 9:20 p.m. Nov. 2, 2010
Incumbents in the race to represent Issaquah in Olympia — Republicans Glenn Anderson and Jay Rodne, and Democrat Judy Clibborn — pulled far ahead of opponents in initial election results released Tuesday night.
The representatives trounced little known or under-funded candidates to cruise to re-election.
Meanwhile, Democrat Marcie Maxwell appeared to be locked into a close contest against Republican Peter Dunbar to retain the state House of Representatives seat she clinched in 2008. The same scenario appeared to be the case for Democrat Randy Gordon and Republican Steve Litzow in a state Senate bout.
The measure to increase the King County sales tax rate to pay for criminal justice services trailed in early returns and a state liquor-privatization measure backed by Issaquah-based Costco lagged.
Republican Dino Rossi, a Sammamish resident and former Issaquah state senator, remained locked in a tight race against incumbent U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, Democrat in a close fight for a fourth term.
October 12, 2010
Voters in the 48th Legislative District will decide a state House of Representatives state Senate races next month. Here, the candidates discuss a variety of local and state issues in 25 words or fewer.
Incumbent Democrat Ross Hunter faces Republican Diane Tebelius for a House seat. Incumbent Democrat Rodney Tom is running against Republican Gregg Bennett for a Senate seat.
October 5, 2010
The battleground for control of the Legislature is on the shores of Lake Sammamish.
Republicans, re-energized after a decade of defeats and defections on the Eastside, hope to shift a handful of lakeside districts back into the GOP column. Incumbent Democrats promise difficult fights to hold the suburban territory in and near Issaquah.
Democrats hold sizeable majorities in Olympia. The party outnumbers Republicans 61-37 in the House of Representatives and 31-18 in the Senate. Gov. Chris Gregoire is also a Democrat.
The effort to change the political calculus is focused on House and Senate races in the 41st, 45th and 48th legislative districts — the upper-middle class communities arranged around Lake Sammamish.
“I think it’s probably a pretty safe bet that the Republicans will pick up some seats, but I don’t know how many,” Washington State University political science professor David Nice said. “My guess is that, no matter who ends up in majority status in either house of the Legislature that the majority is not going to be a very big one.”