May 8, 2012
Friends care enough to say don’t drink and drive
You young people who are now high school seniors were newborn babies when I started working here at The Press, so there’s obviously the implication that I’ve taken pictures of a lot of you throughout your 12 years of classroom activities here in the Issaquah School District.
You might remember those times, and in fact your parents might have saved the clippings! You’ve been one of the great pleasures of my job.
In just about a month, you’ll be graduating from Skyline, Issaquah, Liberty and Tiger Mountain Community high schools. I expect to see you at Safeco Field or the Tiger Mountain campus for your commencement. Congratulations to all of you!
The important thing is that you all live long and happy lives afterward, so if you’ll read along for a minute, I’d like to talk about that Liberty High School DUI demonstration that ran in the paper last week.
May 1, 2012
City and Issaquah School District leaders pledged coordination and cooperation as the city outlines a bold plan to add thousands of residences in the decades ahead.
Discussion about the Central Issaquah Plan — a proposal to transform more than 900 acres near Interstate 90 and state Route 900 — and possible changes to the school district, such as redrawing boundaries for schools to accommodate population shifts, dominated the annual joint meeting April 24.
City Council and Issaquah School Board members, plus Mayor Ava Frisinger and Superintendent Steve Rasmussen and other officials, gathered at Mandarin Garden a week after school district voters approved a $219 million bond to fuel a school construction boom. The planned projects include major changes for schools in downtown Issaquah.
The groups, seated beneath red lanterns and arranged around lazy Susans, sipped tea and nibbled on fried rice and roast pork as discussion unfolded about long-term development plans. (The city hosted the meal and spent $311.24 on food and beverages.)
“Both organizations have gone from fast-growing organizations to more stable, mature organizations with different sets of issues,” Council President Tola Marts said. “So, now the challenge is how do we manage the remaining growth that we have?”
May 1, 2012
The Beat is looking for writers and photographers for the coming school year.
The page — written by teens, for teens and about teens — takes the place of the Schools page the fourth week of the month.
“We’re looking for people to write for the newspaper and our Facebook page, help with fundraising, and take photographs for the newspaper and our websites,” said Kathleen R. Merrill, managing editor of The Press and The Beat.
“We meet once per month to learn about journalism, brainstorm ideas, plan the coming paper and our online coverage, and attend events to raise funds and awareness about our group,” she said. “We also have a lot of fun.”
Participants can be from Issaquah, Liberty, Skyline, Tiger Mountain Community and Eastside Catholic high schools. Freshmen and sophomores are especially encouraged to apply.
If you think you’ve got what it takes, email email@example.com for an application. Completed applications are due May 7.
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.
April 17, 2012
UPDATED — 9:55 p.m. April 17, 2011
The results are preliminary, far from final. But the question seems pretty much decided.
According to unofficial results from King County, local residents are voting heavily in favor of allowing the Issaquah School District to sell $219 million in bonds to fund capital improvement projects throughout the district.
Numbers issued by King County at just after 8 p.m. Tuesday show the bond issue is passing easily with 13,476 votes in favor compared to 6,006 votes against, or 69.1 percent to 30.8 percent.
The Issaquah school issue needs to win the approval of a supermajority of 60 percent of those who vote in order to pass. A minimum of 12,229 voters also had to cast their ballots.
Prior to the election, bond backers said based on the number of registered voters expected to cast ballots, the bond issue would need about 14,000 “yes” votes in order to win approval.
April 17, 2012
They only meet once a week during lunch.
Nevertheless, the 10 or so members of Tiger Mountain Community High School’s first and so far only Associated Student Body-endorsed club have made an impact all around the area and as far as South Africa.
April 10, 2012
As of April 9, an estimated 43,000 voters had returned ballots that will help decide six issues on the ballot of the April 17 special election, said Kim Van Ekstrom, chief communications officer for the King County elections department.
The questions include a $219 million capital improvement bond issue put forth by the Issaquah School District. The 43,000 ballots represent all ballots returned in elections throughout the county, not just from the Issaquah School District. The county has not counted ballots for individual election questions, Van Ekstrom said.
April 3, 2012
By now, most of the campaign work is done, said Lesley Austin, one of the two co-chairwomen of Volunteers for Issaquah Schools, the community organization promoting the Issaquah School District’s capital improvement levy on the April 17 ballot.
The VIS group organized so-called honk and waves at 13 locations throughout the district the morning and afternoon of April 2, Austin said. VIS slated a second such event for April 16, the day before ballots in the election are due back to King County.
April 3, 2012
Students and staff members from Liberty, Issaquah, Tiger Mountain Community and Skyline high schools met March 27 at Issaquah High for a social event to highlight students from the four high schools’ learning resource classes, and let them meet new people and have a good time together.
The evening was organized by Associated Student Body seniors Jay Bowlby, Mason Gregory and Susie Tinker, and junior Olivia Fuller, all from Skyline.
Skyline’s leadership class created special VIP invitations to encourage LRC attendance. As students walked through the doors to Issaquah’s commons, they were greeted by friendly ASB members and given their first raffle ticket of the night. Colorful streamers and hanging stars gave the room a festive vibe.
Refreshments included free pizza, popcorn and water. For students who really wanted to quench their thirst — if they successfully landed a ring over a 2-liter bottle of soda in a ring toss — they were able to keep the soda.
March 27, 2012
Controversial bond deserves a yes vote
W e wish the Issaquah School District had been more conservative in its request to fund the long list of items on the April 17 construction bond, but we get why it did so.
With another school bond ending its 20 years of tax collections, this is a good time to get a lot of catch-up work done on our school facilities, while still giving taxpayers a couple hundred dollars’ reduction in property taxes next year (an estimated $215 drop on a $500,000 assessed valuation home.)
Volunteers for Issaquah Schools, the group pushing a yes vote, say this is the biggest campaign it has ever mounted. It’s no wonder. With so many questions and a $219 million price tag, the proposed bond has raised a lot of eyebrows.
There are a lot of questions voters are asking, as we did. Do the middle schools really need artificial-turf fields? Does it really make sense to tear down Clark Elementary School? Does Tiger Mountain Community High School, population 80, really need to be relocated at a cost of $4 million? Isn’t $75,000 for clocks at Beaver Lake Middle School rather excessive? And so on.