Alison Meryweather, Lisa Callan vie for Issaquah School Board seat

October 1, 2013

Alison Meryweather and Lisa Callan are familiar with each other, having been finalists for the Issaquah School Board’s vacant position earlier this year.

Meryweather was appointed to the Position 4 post — left open by Chad Magendanz’s move to the state House of Representatives — in March. But Meryweather will have to impress voters to keep the job, and Callan will challenge her again on the Nov. 5 ballot.

The Position 4 seat covers the southeast region of the district. Although candidates run for a specific geographic seat, voters districtwide cast ballots for all Issaquah School Board members. Members are elected to four-year terms.

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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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Issaquah School District voters pass $219 million bond issue

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.

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Supporters have yet to face opposition to $219 million school bond

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.

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Press Editorial

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.

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Bond package includes artificial turf for middle schools

March 27, 2012

There are a couple of themes that come up over and over as backers and school officials talk about the prospect of placing artificial turf on the fields of each of the five Issaquah School District middle schools.

The upcoming bond package also would provide the middle schools with rubberized outdoor running tracks if voters decide to approve the $219 million capital improvement plan.

District officials hope to install the turf and tracks at a cost of $1.5 million per school, not counting fields that could go in at a transplanted Issaquah Middle School.

The IMS fields would be added after the school is rebuilt; associated costs are not specifically spelled out in the district’s bond package.

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Volunteers ready big push to promote $219 million school bond

March 13, 2012

At a kick-off in early February, the coming push for passage of a $219 million bond issue was advertised as being possibly the largest campaign ever mounted in the name of the Issaquah School District.

With the April 17 deadline for voting in that election a little over a month away, residents can expect to start seeing tangible evidence of that campaign shortly.

Last week, volunteers should have picked up campaign materials for the first of several planned and targeted literature drops, said Lesley Austin, a former Issaquah School Board member and one of two co-chairwomen of Volunteers for Issaquah Schools, the grassroots group promoting the bond.

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Issaquah School District property tax rates should fall

March 6, 2012

“How much will it raise taxes?”

That’s the first question that comes to mind when a money issue of any kind is put before voters. So, how will the $219 million bond package being floated by the Issaquah School District affect local property taxes?

Bond supporters are quick to point out that local property tax bills will fall even if the bond issue passes. That’s because a bond package voters approved in 2006 is about to be retired.

According to the district, 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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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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