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.)

Backers promise big campaign for $219 million school bond

February 21, 2012

Issaquah City Council President Tola Marts addresses about 100 people gathered for the kickoff of the campaign promoting passage of an April 17 school bond. By Tom Corrigan

The coming push for passage of a proposed $219 million school bond issue that will appear on an April 17 ballot, may be the biggest campaign ever mounted in the name of the Issaquah School District, campaign co-chairwoman Lesley Austin said.

Austin is probably in a worthy position to make such a statement. A former Issaquah School Board member, she has worked on numerous bond and levy issues for the local schools. But Austin and others said the coming bond campaign is going to be different for a couple of reasons.

“It’s because it’s a bond and it’s a complex bond,” Austin said.

Speaking to a crowd of about 100 residents and officials — virtually all supporters of the bond — the campaign committee, Volunteers for Issaquah Schools, held a campaign kickoff Feb. 2 at the King County Library Resource Center on Newport Way Northwest.

With about $45,000 already in hand, the group hopes to raise $90,000 to help promote the bond issue, which would fund replacement of four schools, along with maintenance and refurbishing projects at other buildings in the district.

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City Council could support Issaquah School District bond

January 31, 2012

City Council members could decide to support the $219 million bond the Issaquah School District plans to put before voters in April.

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.

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.)

The bond measure is due to appear on the April 17 ballot.

In the meantime, council members agreed Jan. 26 to hold a public hearing Feb. 21 to discuss possible support for the bond. Citizens can comment on the bond at the 7:30 p.m. council meeting in the Council Chambers at City Hall South, 135 E. Sunset Way.

City, schools use county grant to reduce student lunch waste

January 17, 2012

“We were really trying to get people to look at the waste stream differently,” said Mary Joe de Beck, resource conservation coordinator for the city of Issaquah.

In November, for national America Recycles Day, the city used a small King County grant to bring the idea of reduce, reuse and recycle to the front lines of five schools in the Issaquah School District.

Those five schools house some 2,650 students and spent several weeks gearing up for America Recycles Day on Nov. 15.

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Local students cast ballots in statewide mock election

November 15, 2011

Though most students in primary and secondary schools do not meet the minimum voting age, the under-18 crowd still participated in the November election — sort of.

Washington Secretary of State Sam Reed invited students in kindergarten to 12th grade to participate in the 2011 State Mock Election, a state-sponsored educational effort designed to establish voter participation later in life.

In the Issaquah School District, classes at Sunset and Sunny Hills elementary schools, Pine Lake Middle School and Issaquah High School joined the mock election. The librarian at Sunset Elementary even handed out “I Voted” stickers to students.

Older students voted for the same statewide measures as adults in the real election. Students in kindergarten through fifth grade received more age-appropriate measures.

Issaquah School District students endorsed the liquor privatization measure, Initiative 1183, 58 percent to 42 percent. Local students also backed the tolling measure, Initiative 1125, 60 percent to 40 percent, and the long-term care measure, Initiative 1163, 71 percent to 29 percent.

Statewide, 13,901 students participated in the process.

Issaquah School District students join statewide mock election

November 3, 2011

NEW — 6 a.m. Nov. 3, 2011

Though most students in primary and secondary schools do not meet the minimum voting age, the under-18 crowd can still participate in the November election — sort of.

Washington Secretary of State Sam Reed invited students in kindergarten to 12th grade to participate in the 2011 State Mock Election, a state-sponsored educational effort designed to establish voter participation later in life.

In the Issaquah School District, classes at Sunset and Sunny Hills elementary schools, Pine Lake Middle School and Issaquah High School joined the mock election. The librarian at Sunset Elementary even has a roll of “I Voted” stickers to hand out to students.

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Press Editorial

October 11, 2011

Complex school bond will challenge voters

The Issaquah School Board has postponed the vote for a school bond from February until April, at the request of the campaign committee. It was the right decision. It will take every minute from now until April to convince voters that this $219 million bond should be approved — or not.

Heading the list of controversies will be the $82 million to rebuild Clark Elementary and Issaquah Middle schools so the two student populations can then switch places. At the same time, Tiger Mountain Community High School, home to about 100 students, will also be relocated — another $3.9 million.

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Potential $227 million bond issue draws questions from school board

September 6, 2011

Equity and getting the best construction return for the district’s dollars seemed to be the underlying issues as the Issaquah School Board continued to debate a potential $227 million capital improvement bond issue voters might decide in February.

The board has a little less than a month to decide on the bond question prior to a Sept. 28 deadline. Toward the end of the discussion at the board’s Aug. 31 meeting, board President Jan Woldseth Colbrese said officials may schedule some extra talks in addition to those planned for the regularly scheduled September board sessions. One topic might be questions about whether officials have set their improvement sights too high.

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Education opportunities grow in student gardens

August 23, 2011

Sunny Hills Elementary School first-grader Digant Dash (left) plants flower bulbs in the school’s first-grade garden with fourth-graders Derek Chao and Spencer Bernsten. By Jane Ulrich

Inch by inch, row by row, students are planting lettuce, herbs and broccoli in their school gardens.

This fall, teachers are transforming gardens into outdoor classrooms as students pick up trowels and learn about drip irrigation systems.

Dozens of schools incorporate gardening into their curriculum or have gardening clubs, including Apollo, Cascade Ridge, Challenger, Clark, Creekside, Discovery, Endeavour, Grand Ridge, Issaquah Valley, Maple Hills and Sunny Hills elementary schools; Issaquah and Pine Lake middle schools; and Liberty and Tiger Mountain Community high schools.

“I think the outdoors is just a natural place that kids want to be,” Sunny Hills fourth-grade teacher Jane Ulrich said.

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Issaquah School District to request bond in February

June 28, 2011

The Issaquah School Board has agreed to put a bond before voters Feb. 14.

Board members are still reviewing the contents and cost of the bond, but agreed to decide on both by late September, giving community supporters four months to campaign.

A bond is a property tax that pays for school construction and repairs. Money from bonds cannot be used for teacher salaries or for classroom supplies.

The last bond put before voters — a $241.87 million bond in February 2006 — passed with about 68 percent of the vote. All bonds need at least 60 percent approval to pass.

Some of the larger projects on the 2006 bond included the rebuilding of Issaquah High and Briarwood Elementary schools; the expansion of Skyline High School; the addition of Creekside Elementary School; and remodels at Maywood Middle and Liberty High schools.

District administrators had originally planned to ask voters for a bond in 2010, but decided to wait until 2012 because of the recession.

The proposed 2012 bond has projects for all of the district’s 24 schools, but the list has yet to be finalized.

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