Feb 062014
 

Newcastle News – 02/06/2014

On behalf of the Issaquah School Board, I want to extend our great appreciation for the community’s ongoing support for our schools. Our goal is to prepare students for a global, dynamic world.

In today’s economy, a basic education isn’t sufficient for the every-increasing complexity our students will find in the workforce. They will need to be able to communicate and exhibit higher-level thinking, utilizing ever-advancing technologies. The board understands the success of our students requires a commitment from the entire community. So, when you find your ballot in the mail, we ask that you vote “yes” to renew the three levies approved by the board.

Over the years, the district has built an important relationship with the community. One way has been to involve the community in the development of financial packages recommended to the board. So, last April, the district convened a Levy Development Committee consisting of community members throughout the district, including representatives from businesses, the senior community, local government and students.

According to the 2014 Levy Development Committee Charter, the committee’s goal was to “keep local school taxes stable, ensure the Issaquah School District has all the resources possible to meet its mission and ends student learning goals, and to safely and efficiently maintain facilities and property.”

The members worked diligently throughout the spring and their hard work was essential to ensure the community’s values were represented in the final recommendation brought to the board. The board is confident that the three ballot measures reflect the expectations the community has of our outstanding education system in the Issaquah School District.

Please join me in voting “yes” on the Maintenance and Operations levy, the Transportation Levy and the Capital Levy. Thank you for your continued support of our schools.

Marnie Maraldo, president

Issaquah School Board

Feb 052014
 

Sammamish Review – 02/05/2014

In response to the Jan. 22 editorial, “Vote Yes for all Measures,” I wanted to extend my support and encourage others to vote yes for the three Issaquah School District levies. As a parent of two children in the district, and as someone who volunteers and substitutes in the Issaquah School District, I want to make sure everyone knows how important it is to vote yes for this funding.

There are three levies on the ballot Feb. 11. The first is a maintenance and operations levy. This levy provides 21 percent of the Issaquah School District operating budget (staff salaries, books, heat and light, fuel for buses, and building maintenance). Our taxes in Washington only provide 60.8 percent of the total budget for the district; federal funds account for 3.9 percent of the budget, tuition and fees (13.1 percent) and other funds (0.3 percent). Even with the levy dollars, Issaquah schools only rank 257th out of 295 school districts in the state in per student funding. Therefore, it is critical to our schools to pass this levy if we want to provide our children with a quality education.

The second levy is a school bus levy that will replace old buses with new, more efficient models that align with the state’s safety standards and replacement cycle. Fuel savings and lower maintenance costs mean that more money can go into the classroom to provide quality education for our children.

The third levy is a capital levy that pays for the classroom technology needs and critical repairs of buildings throughout the district. Washington state provides zero dollars of funding for technology. Our schools depend on local levy money and community funding for our classroom technology funding.

Please vote yes for all three Issaquah School District levies on February 11.

Theresa Larsen

Sammamish

Feb 042014
 

Issaquah/Sammamish Reporter – 02/04/2014

I wanted to extend my support and encourage others to vote “yes” for the three Issaquah School District levies. As a parent of two children in the district, and as someone who volunteers and substitutes in the Issaquah School District, I want to make sure everyone knows how important it is to vote “yes” for this funding.

The first levy is a maintenance and operations levy. It provides 21 percent of the Issaquah School District operating budget (staff salaries, books, heat and light, fuel for buses, and building maintenance). Without this money the district will have to make dramatic cuts, such as to staff or extracurricular activities, which will affect our children. Therefore, it is critical to our schools to pass this levy if we want to continue to provide our children with a quality education.

The second levy is a school bus levy that will replace older buses with new, more efficient models. The resulting fuel savings and lower maintenance costs mean that more money can go into the classroom to provide quality education for our children.

The third levy is a capital levy that pays for the classroom technology needs and critical repairs of buildings throughout the district. Our schools depend on local levy money and community funding (ISF, PTSA, etc) for classroom technology needs.

Theresa Larsen, Sammamish

Feb 042014
 

Issaquah Press – 02/04/2014

Please vote yes in favor of the school levy in February. Before I became part of the PTA, I didn’t know much about levies and didn’t really understand why they were important for me to vote in.

Now that I have two children in the Issaquah School District, I am acutely aware of the value a levy provides to every student in our district. These levies keep the basics of education flowing; they are a crucial element for funding the day to day needs of our schools.

You hear in the news about the happenings in the Legislature regarding education, and while we are hopeful that the state will increase per-student funding, these changes are still a long way from replacing the need for levies. Without the passage of the three levies, our district will have to make deep cuts that our students will feel daily.

Please take the time to vote yes for the three levies to fund education. I’m voting yes for all three levies because I know they make a difference to every person in each of our schools and benefit the community we live in. Education is the key to keeping our city prosperous!

Heather Berry, co-president

Issaquah Valley Elementary PTA

Jan 292014
 

Issaquah Press – 01/29/2014

Why do Realtors endorse school levies?

Realtors know high-quality schools are important in every neighborhood. Good schools are a priority — and not just for parents. Savvy buyers and sellers know that quality schools are a factor in home values.

Seattle King County Realtors recently heard presentations by Issaquah Schools Superintendent Ron Thiele and school board member Suzanne Weaver. They took time out of their busy day to make the case for students in Issaquah, and to answer questions from brokers.

Realtors understand the importance of supplementing state funding for basic classroom needs, but as homeowners and taxpayers, we are also concerned about the “return on investment.”

Issaquah residents can be proud of the exemplary financial management by district officials who earn consistently high marks on audit reports, and the highest bond rating of any public school district in the state.

Equally impressive are student achievements on various academic assessments. They significantly outperform their in-state and national peers. Teachers deserve praise for their role in these accomplishments.

In addition to endorsing renewal of the Maintenance and Operations Levy, we also endorsed the School Bus Levy and renewal of the Capital Levy for classroom technology and critical repairs. Upgrading buses is essential to meeting safety and efficiency standards.

Just like the fleet of buses, much of technology used throughout the district needs to be updated. These vital tools are not covered by state funding. It’s also time to invest more in repairs and maintenance of several buildings.

As one of our colleagues stated, supporting school levies is not a matter of altruism — it’s economics.

I’ll be voting “yes” three times on the Feb. 11 ballot, and I hope residents districtwide will join me.

Joan Probala, managing broker

Windermere Real EstateEast Inc., Issaquah

Jan 242014
 

Issaquah/Sammamish Reporter – 01/24/2014

On behalf of the Issaquah School Board, I want to extend our great appreciation for the community’s ongoing support for our schools. Our goal is to prepare students for a global, dynamic world.

We know that in today’s economy a basic education is not sufficient for the every-increasing complexity our students will find in the workforce. They will need to be able to communicate and exhibit higher-level thinking utilizing ever-advancing technologies. The board understands that it requires a commitment from the entire community to make this happen. So, as you check your mail and find your ballot inside, we ask that you vote “Yes” to renew the three levies approved by the board.

Over the years, the district has built an important relationship with the community. One way has been to involve the community in the development of financial packages recommended to the board. The February levy packages are no exception. In April of last year, the district convened a Levy Development Committee consisting of community members throughout the district, including representatives from businesses, the senior community, local government and students.

The committee worked throughout the spring to finalize the recommendations brought to the board. Its hard work was essential to ensure the community’s values were represented in the final recommendation. The board is confident that the three ballot measures reflect the expectations the community has of our outstanding education system in the Issaquah School District.

The three levies before you for renewal are a maintenance and operations levy, which provides for general classroom and operational needs; a one-year transportation levy, which allows the district to purchase new and more efficient buses; and a capital levy which provides for the technology and safe school environment our students need.

Please join me in voting “yes” on each levy and thank you for your continued support of our schools.

Marnie Maraldo, board president, Issaquah School Board

Jan 212014
 

Sammamish Review – 01/21/2014

Did you know Washington ranks 43 out of 50 states in per pupil education funding per “Education Week,” and Issaquah ranks 292 out of 295 in Washington school districts in state per-pupil education funding? This is still true even with the McCleary decision. State funding hasn’t changed enough to bring us anywhere close to a national average.

So how is the per-pupil funding so low, and our schools so great? Issaquah counts on every single levy dollar to make it work.

The Issaquah School District has the lowest administrative costs as a percentage of their budget of any other district in King County.

A 2011 study by the Center for American Progress ranked Issaquah as the No. 1 district in the state for return on educational investment. The district manages its resources with extreme care and has very talented teachers and staff excelling in their jobs.

So, yes, we really do have great schools, but we are only one levy failure away from losing that greatness. The Maintenance and Operations Levy alone makes up 21 percent of the district’s total operating budget.

On Feb. 11, we have a chance to keep our schools and community strong.

I encourage you to vote yes 3 times for Issaquah Schools. It takes the renewal of the Maintenance and Operations Levy, the School Bus Levy, and the Capital Levy to keep our schools great.

Lisa Callan

The writer is a member of the Issaquah School Board

Jan 212014
 

Issaquah Press – 01/21/2014

I am writing to offer my support, and that of the Greater Issaquah Chamber of Commerce, for the Issaquah School District levies, which citizens will vote on in February.

The chamber, in serving as the voice of more than 500 businesses representing more than 50,000 local and regional employees, strongly supports these measures and urges a yes vote.

Local funding for our schools provides truly critical resources for our kids. Without this funding, the quality of their education will suffer. In a highly-competitive global economy for talent, this is the best investment we can make in our future and the right thing to do to support our local students.

It is also important to note that the quality of the Issaquah School District, made possible through strong district leadership, outstanding parental involvement, teaching excellence, and strong corporate and individual contributions through the Issaquah Schools Foundation, offers a major economic advantage to our community.

Potential residents and new businesses seek out the best school districts to locate their families and enterprises, respectively, and Issaquah is among the top contenders. This helps property values, job growth and economic vitality. The performance and reputation of our school district was also one of the major community and economic strengths identified recently by the city of Issaquah’s Economic Vitality Commission in its community SWOT analysis. Let’s keep this going.

In the post-Great Recession reality where job creation and helping citizens find meaningful employment must be a top priority for policy makers and citizens alike, support for our local schools is one way local citizens can help contribute to the future of our kids and our community.

I urge your support in helping our children thrive and our community prosper by supporting the three Issaquah school levies.

Matthew Bott, chief executive officer

Greater Issaquah Chamber of Commerce

Jan 212014
 

Issaquah Press – 01/21/2014

Vote yes for high-quality, award-winning schools

Happy New Year! As an elementary school principal in the Issaquah downtown area I have the amazing opportunity to work and live in the center of our city daily. I love Issaquah!

The families, the businesses, and the amazing art and sport communities make Issaquah a quality place to raise a family or own a home. Another main attraction for people to move and thrive in Issaquah is our award-winning schools.

Our district is extremely responsible with the management of the funds it receives and it is vital for our continued success that we all vote “yes” on Feb. 11 for our replacement levy. These funds are necessary for regular operation of our school, such as salaries, lights, copying and buses. Many are surprised that the state does not fund these items fully — but unfortunately voters still need to support the basic needs of our schools in part.

Here is what a “yes” vote will maintain for the Issaquah district:

  • Four-year Maintenance and Operations Levy in the following amounts: $44.5 million in 2015, $48 million in 2016, $51.5 million in 2017 and $54 million in 2018.
  • -One-year Transportation Levy in the amount of $1.7 million in 2015.
  • -Four-year Critical Repairs/Technology levy in the following amounts: $11.4 million in 2015, $12.05 million in 2016, $13.59 million in 2017 and $14.89 million in 2018.

Our district and city are one of the best in the state! We need this vote to maintain this level of quality. It is so reassuring to work for a city that values its schools, and a district that is responsible and collaborative with the city. Thanks in advance to all the voters of Issaquah — we appreciate you!

For me, it’s an easy choice and decision. Please vote yes for the upcoming Issaquah School District levies.

Diane Holt, principal

Issaquah Valley Elementary School

Jan 172014
 

by MATT BOTT, Issaquah Reporter Columnist
Jan 17, 2014 at 4:00AM

Let me start this column by urging your support for the upcoming Issaquah School District levies. On behalf of the local and regional business community, the Issaquah Chamber of Commerce is proud to offer its full endorsement and complete support for the three school levies on the ballot this February.

The Issaquah School District continues to be among the highest performing in the state and there is little doubt that local investment in local education is among the best way a community can support its youth and local economy. Strong schools mean healthy families, bright futures and a strong local economy. Let’s keep this going for Issaquah’s students and our community. Vote yes on the Issaquah school levies.

Now, let me turn to some observations about the future of business and education.

Across the nation, we are seeing relatively unprecedented engagement with, and partnership between, the business and education communities. The winning communities of the future will have this partnership down to a “science.” Nobody knows this more than chambers of commerce.

Across the nation and the Evergreen State, chambers are engaging in a myriad of education/business partnerships. And they must. The talent level of a local workforce is probably the defining factor, next to a pro-business regulatory climate, in whether a business will invest jobs in a community or move on to greener pastures.

The gaps are clear. Internships. Workforce training. Youth un(and under)employment. Critical thinking skills. Academic rigor. Entrepreneurial training. Different communities will have different needs and different responses. In Issaquah, career-pathways is a big topic. In other communities, it is graduation rates. In some, it’s school performance.

Locally, our work mirrors this trend in business-education partnerships. This May, the chamber’s Education Committee, led by the talented Cornell Atwater of LearningRX, in collaboration with the school district, Schools Foundation and others, will hold our second Great Careers event. The program helps hundreds of local students identify meaningful career pathways that match their skills and ambitions. The hopeful outcomes: reducing the “decade drift,” career-path mismatch and youth unemployment.

Another area is internship programs. In Issaquah alone there are hundreds of businesses that could (and many do) provide real-world experience to local students as a part of their development. The notable work of Superior Seconds, a downtown locally-owned sporting goods store, which mentors middle and high school students and engages in community youth drug prevention efforts, is just one example. And regionally, the more we can attack the skills gap – particularly in science, technology, engineering and math – through dynamic, innovative business-education partnerships, the more successful we will be.

Meaningful business-education partnerships, be they in the form of workforce development, career readiness or entrepreneur training, is a welcome trend and valuable tool for community advancement. Vote “yes” on the levies in February, and join us in helping our kids succeed and our community thrive in months and years to follow.

Matthew Bott is the chief executive officer of the Greater Issaquah Chamber of Commerce. He writes on topics regarding the local/regional economy and community leadership.