Occasionally parents and residents come to me with questions about the school district, unaware that the district and the city are two entirely separate governmental entities.
But their confusion is completely understandable. More than any other city I know, the success of the city of Issaquah is tied to the success of the Issaquah School District. People move to Issaquah for many reasons, but I believe the foremost is to be able to send their children to ISD schools. Nobody comes here for the weather!
Washington is saddled with an archaic funding scheme that leaves our diverse student body with less state dollars than more affluent districts, such as Bellevue and Mercer Island. It’s so bad that the courts recently found that the Legislature’s funding system violates the state constitution’s requirement that education be the state’s paramount duty.
But year after year, the Issaquah School District does more with less than any other district in the state. Part of that is exceptional fiscal oversight; as beautiful as the rebuilt Issaquah High School is, for example, it cost much less per square foot than other recent Eastside rebuilds.
The other reason is the foresight of local voters to fund education as the great investment that it is. School levies allow the ISD to be nationally competitive, and school bonds allow long-term capital items to be funded outside the operational budget, saving core dollars for classrooms.
Issaquah is a large district with many schools that have been around a long time. There are many repairs that are needed. The district’s growth has slowed down, which is why this is a smaller bond than the last time, and for eight years instead of six. That’s why your school bond tax burden, if this bond is passed, will go down compared to last year. That’s good, restrained management, and allows me to wholeheartedly support this upcoming bond.
You’ll be receiving your ballot in the mail shortly; I hope you’ll think about the long-term health of the city, and join me in voting “yes!”
Issaquah City Council