Voters easily approve $219 million school bond

April 24, 2012

Issaquah School District voters overwhelmingly approved a $219 million bond to fund construction and renovation projects on campuses across the district.

In the April 17 special election, 70 percent of voters — encompassing more than 15,000 yes votes of out more than 22,000 ballots cast — approved the measure. (The measure needed to receive a 60 percent yes vote from a minimum turnout of 12,229 voters.)

Despite the passage of the bond, local homeowners will pay less in property taxes to the schools than they do now because a previous bond issue is set to expire this year.

The retirement of the earlier bond will drop the local tax rate from $4.85 per $1,000 of assessed property value to $4.05. Passage of the new bond would put the rate at $4.42.

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King County Elections records strong voter participation

April 17, 2012

Though the deadline for the April 17 special election is history, King County Elections officials continue to reach out to voters to resolve signature issues on ballots from the all-mail contest.

Staffers compare the signatures on returned ballot envelopes against the signature on file in voter registrations. If the elections office receives unsigned ballots, officials attempt to contact the affected voters to resolve the problem. Signature problems must be resolved before the election is certified April 27.

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King County reports strong participation in April 17 election

April 13, 2012

NEW — 8 a.m. April 13, 2012

King County Elections officials said more than 54,000 voters returned ballots for the April 17 special election by Thursday — more than the average at the same point  for special elections.

The elections office mailed 236,000 ballots to voters in the districts participating in special elections. Officials expect a 34 percent return rate, or about 80,000 ballots for the half-dozen government entities participating in the special election.

In the Issaquah School District, the electorate faces a choice on a $219 million school construction bond in the election. (The school district stretches from Preston to Newcastle, and from Sammamish to Renton.)

In order to pass, the measure needs to receive a 60 percent yes vote from a minimum turnout of 12,229 voters.

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Who’s News

April 10, 2012

Local students honored

The United Nations Commission on the Status of Women recently awarded the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Scholar Recognition Award to Issaquah students Linnane Lecoque (Liberty High School, technology), Kim Bussing (Issaquah High School, mathematics), Lauren Ryan (Issaquah, engineering), Supriya Dublish (Skyline High School, mathematics), Jessica Foo (Liberty, science), Erika Shirovna (Skyline, technology) and Maddi Hutson (Skyline, science). Also winning were Hanna Bergam (Liberty, mathematics) and Maria Dalzell-Matos (Issaquah, science).

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Issaquah, Sammamish councils support school district bond

February 28, 2012

Issaquah and Sammamish leaders agreed last week to support the $219 million bond the Issaquah School District plans to put before voters April 17.

The measure is meant to generate dollars to rebuild Clark and Sunny Hills elementary schools and Issaquah Middle School, modernize Liberty High School and relocate Tiger Mountain Community High School.

Issaquah City Council members held a public hearing about the bond Feb. 21 and then agreed to back the measure in a 5-0 decision. (Councilman Mark Mullet and Councilwoman Eileen Barber did not attend the meeting.)

Sammamish City Council members endorsed the measure Feb. 7.

“When companies are looking at relocating, they often look at the availability of excellent education,” Sammamish Mayor Tom Odell said. “We have that here, and it’s incumbent on us to keep it that way if we want to protect what we have here.”

Issaquah School District officials also plan to use bond funds to improve districtwide heating and ventilation, space and security; and improve athletic fields and stadiums. (Clark Elementary School, Issaquah Middle School and Tiger Mountain Community High School sit inside Issaquah city limits.)

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King County forgoes crackdown on medical marijuana

July 26, 2011

Dow Constantine

King County is adopting a more laissez-faire approach to medical-marijuana operations as Issaquah, Sammamish and other cities tighten rules for patient-run collective gardens and other operations.

Issaquah City Council members upheld a six-month moratorium on medical marijuana collective gardens July 18 — the same day the council in neighboring Sammamish enacted a similar moratorium. Federal Way, Kent, North Bend and other cities also clamped down on medical-marijuana operations.

King County Executive Dow Constantine, however, does not intend to propose legislation to address the issue in rural and unincorporated areas.

“At this time, the executive does not plan to propose any new regulations governing dispensaries in unincorporated areas of the county,” said Frank Abe, a spokesman for the executive.

The decision means medical-marijuana operations in unincorporated areas, such as The Kind Alternative Medical Collective, a nonprofit collective in Preston, can continue operations unaffected.

In the meantime, county officials plan to reach out to residents in unincorporated areas to address concerns.

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Eastside Fire & Rescue directors explore agency’s future structure

July 19, 2011

Veto power among ideas being considered

The Eastside Fire & Rescue board of directors decided July 14 to form a sub-committee that will probe possible changes to its governance structure — including the veto power that individual partners now hold regarding adding additional partners to the agency.

EFR is an amalgamation of King County fire districts 10 and 38 and the cities of Issaquah, Sammamish and North Bend.

The study of EFR’s structure follows the completion of a different study that examined the possibility of a regional fire authority — essentially an independent taxing district that would have moved the fire services bill from cities’ general funds to residents’ property tax bills. EFR members have been pondering the future of fire service in the area once the agreement that underpins the agency expires in 2014.

Mark Mullet, an Issaquah city councilman and one of the city’s two representatives on the board, said the study showed that Issaquah residents would have paid $1.17 per $1,000 of assessed value for fire service under a regional fire authority; they pay the equivalent of 83 cents per $1,000 through the city’s general fund now.

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Creekside, Grand Ridge students create city of the future

June 14, 2011

Students work on their Polyhedraville futuristic city project. Fourth-graders from the SAGE programs at Creekside and Grand Ridge elementary schools spent the school year creating the city. By Ron Ciraulo

The day after Ron Ciraulo’s fourth-graders presented their futuristic city project to city leaders, Kameron Gurol, Sammamish’s director of community development, personally commended the teacher for the students’ high-quality work.

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Sammamish exempts schools from storm water fees

June 7, 2011

In return, students must learn about storm water issues

Sammamish will continue to exempt local school districts from storm-water fees in exchange for those districts’ continued promise to teach their students about storm water issues.

The Sammamish City Council recently re-examined the situation following news that two Issaquah School District schools — Skyline High and Cascade Ridge Elementary — had inadvertently been charged the fees in 2009 and 2010 and were refusing to pay.

City staff members blamed an accounting snafu by King County, which collects storm water fees and sends that money back to the city for use in building and maintaining ditches, culverts and other infrastructure that collects and distributes water off the plateau following storms.

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City Council, school board meet to discuss shared safety issues

May 31, 2011

School-zone construction, illegal skate-park activities are top concerns

With communication in mind, the Issaquah City Council and Issaquah School Board met May 26 to talk about issues that concern them both, including road construction near schools, illegal activities at the Issaquah skate park and whether the school board could televise its public meetings.

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