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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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 District superintendent to retire in June

January 15, 2013

Steve Rasmussen, Issaquah School District superintendent, sits in his office Jan. 14. The 62-year-old educator plans to bid farewell to the district when he retires June 30. By Lillian O’Rorke

Steve Rasmussen, Issaquah School District superintendent, sits in his office Jan. 14. The 62-year-old educator plans to bid farewell to the district when he retires June 30. By Lillian O’Rorke

Superintendent Steve Rasmussen intends to retire June 30 after leading the Issaquah School District for six years.

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Issaquah School District superintendent to retire

January 9, 2013

NEW — 10:10 p.m. Jan. 9, 2013

Superintendent Steve Rasmussen intends to retire June 30 after leading the Issaquah School District for almost six years.

Steve Rasmussen

Steve Rasmussen

The superintendent announced the decision Wednesday night to the Issaquah School Board.

“I have been lucky in life and have been able to do what I chose to do and that is being a teacher,” Rasmussen said to the board after the board accepted his resignation by a unanimous vote of the board. “It has been an honor and a privilege to serve with you.”

Rasmussen’s retirement caps off a 40-year career in public education in Washington that has included teaching, coaching and leading three school districts.

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Issaquah School District officials propose ‘flat’ $167.5 million budget

August 14, 2012

“Flat” was the key word Aug. 8, when the Issaquah School District rolled out its draft budget for the 2012-13 academic year to the tune of $167.46 million.

But it wasn’t necessarily a bad word. In this case, flat means not only no major leaps in spending or state funding but also no major program reductions or changes in class-size allocation.

“Who thought flat state funding would be an exciting thing?” asked Jake Kuper, chief of finance and operations for the district.

When the recession hit in 2008, state funding for schools began a steep downward spiral that totaled a nearly $16 million loss for the district. During the 2008-09 school year the state paid 68 percent of the district’s bills. Since then, that rate has dropped to 60.8 percent and there, Kuper said, is where it remains stagnant.

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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 bond measure amasses more votes

April 19, 2012

NEW — 12:45 p.m. April 19, 2012

Prior to the election, supporters said they would need about 14,000 “yes” votes in order for the Issaquah School District’s $219 million bond issue to pass.

They nearly had that number in hand when just the first round of election results were released late Tuesday, the day of the election. As of Wednesday, voters cleared the 14,000 ballot hurdle.

As of Wednesday, according to King County Elections, the bond has earned 14,763 votes in favor compared to 6,419 against. That translates to 69.7 percent in favor; 30.3 percent against.

The district needed a supermajority of 60 percent of the ballots cast in order for the issue to pass. If needed, the county will post new voter tallies each afternoon. Elections officials said the special ballot will be certified April 27.

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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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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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Issaquah School Board is unanimous in support for coming bond issue

January 10, 2012

Probably to no one’s surprise, at its last meeting of 2011 on Dec. 14, the Issaquah School Board unanimously passed a resolution supporting a $219 million capital bond issue that will go before voters in April.

The board voted in October to put the question on the ballot. At that point, board member Chad Magendanz voted against the issue.

Magendanz, elected board president Dec. 14, said despite his earlier vote, the bond issue has his total support. Magendanz said his earlier “no” vote was the result of a procedural issue, that he felt the board should have put off the final vote on floating the bond until a later meeting.

A campaign to promote the bond barely has left the starting blocks. Still, board member Suzanne Weaver said she has received many questions about the proposed rebuilding of Tiger Mountain Community High School.

In the original bond proposal put forth by Superintendent Steve Rasmussen, rebuilding Tiger Mountain High was interconnected with rebuilding Issaquah Middle School and Clark Elementary School. The total cost of the interrelated Tiger Mountain projects was $86 million.

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