Mar 252016
 

Issaquah Reporter – March 25, 2016

Issaquah endorses $500 million school construction bond

by DANIEL NASH,  Issaquah Reporter Staff Writer 

Mar 24, 2016

A half-billion dollar capital projects bond measure to build and rebuild Issaquah schools has received its stamp of approval from the Issaquah School District’s namesake city.

The Issaquah City Council voted Monday night to endorse Proposition 1 in the April 26 special election.

The approval came following a public hearing for the school construction bond. The only Issaquah resident to speak was School Board member Lisa Callan, who thanked the council for their support.

If approved by voters, the bond will authorize $533.5 million to construct four new school campuses across all primary and secondary grade levels and rebuild or modernize several others.

The funds will come from general obligation bonds to be repaid through property taxes.

Councilmember Bill Ramos said he hoped all Issaquah voters would support the bond.

“My children are … out of the school system,” he said. “But schools are important for all of us. The schools that make our community make our future.”

Mar 162016
 

Issaquah Press – March 16, 2016

New bond issue arrived ahead of schedule, but officials say waiting wasn’t practical

By Tom Corrigan

In April 2012, about 70 percent of Issaquah School District voters approved a $219 million bond package to fund capital projects throughout the district.

Some of those projects are still underway, such as the new $19.5 million Clark Elementary School and the related rebuilding of Issaquah Middle School for $64 million.

Even as that work moves forward, the district is asking for approval of a $533 million bond package that, among other things, will fund a fourth district high school, a sixth middle school and two new elementary schools – Nos. 16 and 17.

Back in 2012, district officials advertised that another bond package would not be needed for six years. In talking about the current bond package, Suzanne Weaver, a member of the district board of directors now and in 2012, doesn’t hesitate to admit the district did not reach its goal of waiting for six years to go back to voters. Ultimately, the plan was to line up bond campaigns to fund capital projects with levy campaigns for operating dollars, but that didn’t happen.

“That would have been nice,” Weaver said.

She and others said two key factors led district leaders to believe they just couldn’t wait another two years to float a bond question.

One issue is the residential growth within the district, which inevitably leads to a growing student population. The district grew by more than 2,000 students in the past four years, and what district officials call conservative projections show an additional 1,500 to 2,000 new students walking through school doors in the next five years. Calls for smaller class sizes and all day kindergarten are also adding to the need for additional space. Weaver said all-day kindergarten means 16 additional classrooms will be needed.

By making use of libraries, computer rooms and so on, Weaver said all-day kindergarten would be offered next year with or without passage of the bond package.

The growing scarcity of land available for new schools was another important factor in the decision to go to back to voters this year. Weaver said not only is it getting more difficult to find room for new schools, the property that is available is only getting more and more expensive. One estimate put property acquisition costs at close to $100 million.

One thing that not’s getting more and more expensive is local property taxes, at least not because of schools, said Weaver and Alicia Veevaert, vice-president of Volunteers for Issaquah Schools. VIS is a grassroots group running the bond campaign.

The bond sale will add nothing to district property tax rates, according to information from VIS and the district. However, as previous bonds and debts are paid off, tax rates will not go down.

At present, tax rates sit at about $4.14 per $1,000 in property valuation.

Besides four new buildings, some of the planned projects include a $71 million rebuild of Pine Lake Middle School. An upgrade of Beaver Lake Middle School would run $8.5 million. Five existing elementary schools would be revamped at a cost of

$7 million to $9 million each. The central administration building would get a revamp and expansion with a price tag of $7.5 million.

The bond proceeds also would fund $6 million in portable classrooms, $6 million for project management and a $12 million reserve or contingency fund.

Officials have steadfastly declined to identify where new schools might go. The reason is to avoid sudden price hikes or getting into a bidding war with developers, said L. Michelle, district director of communications. Weaver did say that a spot somewhere between Issaquah and Skyline high schools would be ideal for the new high school.

Mar 152016
 

Issaquah Press – March 15, 2016

Volunteers out to sell voters on Issaquah school bond measure

By Tom Corrigan

As state law bars school districts from spending public money on levy or bond campaigns, almost all districts have a grassroots, volunteer organization to run public campaigns.

For the Issaquah School District that group is Volunteers for Issaquah Schools. Founded in 1977, the organization is an official nonprofit. Since a kickoff event in January, VIS has been running a campaign to help pass the $533.5 million capital project bond issue on the April 26 ballot. Bond issues in the state need a supermajority of 60 percent to pass.

The VIS has run successful levy or bond issues in the past. But the group this time is trying to reach audiences they may have previously missed, said Alicia Veevaert, VIS vice president.

For example, she said VIS put on a presentation for the Sammamish Mosque.

“They were very welcoming,” said Dawn Peschek, VIS president.

Both Peschek and Veevaert talked about the usual school campaign strategies: mail drops, a possible phone bank, honk-and-wave events and so on. In addition to locations such as the Sammamish Mosque, VIS representatives have appeared anyplace they’ve been invited to speak.

“We’ve done presentations at each and every school,” said Veevaert.

They’ve also been to meetings of the city councils in Issaquah and Sammamish and homeowner groups all around the area. And besides selling the bond, VIS runs a steady get-out-the-vote campaign.

The deadline to register online in order to vote in the April election is March 28. In-person registrations for first-time voters will be taken until eight days prior to the election, or April 18. Ballots will be mailed April 6. VIS has a mailing going out to voters that same day.

District numbers show only about 30 percent of area voters have children in the school system.
“We kind of expect them to vote support us,” said Suzanne Weaver, a member of the district’s board of directors and the VIS treasurer. She said the key is getting to those voters without children.

“Every votes counts,” Veevaert added. She noted a past Snoqualmie Valley issue failed by a single vote. In Enumclaw, an issue passed by a mere four votes.

“Please mail back those ballots,” Veevaert said.

The last day to return ballots is Election Day, April 26.

Go to visvote.org to visit the VIS website, or kingcounty.gov/depts/elections for voting information.

Mar 082016
 

King County Special Election April 26 – Register to Vote or Update Your Address

The next special election takes place on Tuesday, April 26, 2016. If you are not registered to vote in King County or have recently moved into the Issaquah School District, you may register or update your address online or by mail, by March 28th, or in person by April 18th at the King County Elections office in Renton or voter registration annex in Seattle.

Be an informed voter; visit the King County Elections Home Page for voter guides and additional information on how to register.

The Issaquah School District Capital Bond Measure is on the April ballot. For details of the School Bond visit the District website or download the quick facts sheet.

Please share this with your friends/neighbors who may be new to the Issaquah School District.

 KCelection-photo

Registration deadlines

MAR 28 – online or mail in voter registration deadline

APR 18 –  In-person voter registration deadline for new voters

Mar 072016
 

Issaquah School Bond – Growth and Building

Our District has grown by nearly 5,000 students in the last ten years and is projected to grow an additional 1,500 to 2,000 students in the next five years. This chart shows how the ratio of students to school buildings has increased. More facilities are needed to meet the demand for classroom space. For more information, visit our 2016 school bond information page on the ISD website. For information on current and past school construction, visit the Capital Projects website!

Feb 092016
 

Help us reach out to those in our community that would benefit from getting the 2016 School Bond Quick Facts in another language.  People can access the quick facts in English, Chinese, Spanish and Korean.  The pdfs are linked here below and on the 2016 Bond Info tab above.

2016 Bond Quick Facts – English                            2016 Bond Quick Facts – Chinese

2016 Bond Quick Facts – Korean                             2016 Bono escolar – Spanish

Oct 282015
 

The School Board  will  review and take action on the 2016 ballot resolution #1063 at tonight’s school board meeting, Wed. Oct. 28, 2015  –  7pm, 565 NW Holly St, Issaquah. Meeting agenda and action item,

For full resolution text for review – http://apps.issaquah.wednet.edu/documents/events/660/1063%20$533.5M%20Bond%20Ballot%20Measure%20for%20April%2026,%202016.pdf 

Community comments can be given in person at a School Board meeting or via email to schoolboard@issaquah.wednet.edu

Oct 212015
 

The School Board reviewed the initial proposed ballot  language at their meeting on Wed. Oct. 14, 2015. You can hear the Board’s 20 minute discussion in full in the podcast (below). There were a few questions by the Board and this ballot resolution will be reviewed and discussed again at the Wed. Oct. 28, 2015 7pm School Board meeting.

Oct. 14, 2015    School Board review and discussion begins at the 42:50 minute mark of the Oct. 14th podcast  http://www.issaquah.wednet.edu/board/podcast/archive   (42:50-1:02 minute marks)

Next review of Bond ballot resolution will take place at the School Board  meeting; Oct. 28, 2015, 7PM, 565 NW Holly St, Issaquah;  meeting agenda and materials

For full draft – http://apps.issaquah.wednet.edu/documents/events/652/10-14-15%20Draft–Bond%20Election%20Resolution%20(April%202016).pdf

Community comments can be given in person at a School Board meeting or via email to schoolboard@issaquah.wednet.edu