Oct 132017

The Issaquah School Board took action on three levy measures at the Wednesday, October 11, 2017 school board meeting. The board approved a four-year Educational Programs and Operations levy, a four-year Capital levy, and a one-year Transportation Levy. Like a subscription, voters must approve to renew school levies. The renewal of these levies is critical to allow the District to continue providing a high quality education and meet operational needs. All of the measures on the ballot will be renewals to levies that were approved in 2014 that will have expired by 2018.

State legislation passed in June 2017 increased the amount of state school taxes, but reduced our local levy authority. This legislation was enacted in an attempt to meet the order from the Supreme Court to fully fund basic education. For this reason, the District’s replacement Educational Programs and Operations Levy is less than it was four years ago and represents a tax reduction at the local level.

In 2019, the new state funding model will provide new revenue to the Issaquah School District equal to approximately 3 to 3.5% of our annual budget. However, the state’s ability to pay for its solution beyond 2019 comes with uncertainty and leaves many questions with regard to future funding amounts. Also in question, is the ability of the District to make local decisions about how to direct those funds to meet our students’ needs. The District has put forth levy resolutions that meet our goal of maintaining the high level of service our community expects. The resolutions also require the school board to annually review available funding levels. Should more state money become available, this annual review allows the school board to not collect the full local levy amount authorized and further lower local school taxes.

Your tax bill is a combination of local school, state, and municipal property taxes including transit, emergency services, hospitals, and more. It is also important to remember that property tax bills increase as home and property values go up. The Issaquah School District and the Issaquah School Board do take all of this into consideration. While the State’s portion of your school taxes are increasing, we are reducing the local portion of school taxes for residents of our District. Still, we recognize this will result in an overall increase in property taxes. We believe that the amount of levy dollars we are asking for is aligned with the values of our community and their expectations for a high quality education and excellent schools.

Issaquah School Board Votes to Place Three Levy Measures on February 2018 Ballot

Oct 112017

The Issaquah School District has gotten the green light to continue to pursue building a new Issaquah Highlands elementary school to alleviate capacity concerns at Clark and Grand Ridge.

With a unanimous vote, the Issaquah City Council at its Oct. 2 meeting annexed 32.65 acres of land from King County, located just southwest of current development in the Issaquah Highlands. Within that property, council members also rezoned a 6.6-acre parcel nearby Swedish Hospital to allow for construction of a community facility (such as a school).

“We are thrilled,” said Superintendent Ron Thiele. “We believe this is the best location for us to build a much-needed new elementary, and our partnership with the city has been very positive.”

With suitable land both scarce and highly sought after, city and district leaders have been working together for months to tackle challenges around building and siting new schools within Issaquah. This has included developing new “compact school” codes that outline re-envisioned school buildings with smaller footprints. City and district staff also identified the parcel of land nearby Swedish in the Issaquah Highlands as the preferred location for a new elementary school.

Although this rezoning action does not guarantee construction of a new Issaquah Highlands elementary, it’s the critical first step needed to continue the multifaceted process. Next, the district and city will work together to better define the potential school-campus borders, which will likely include incorporating a small amount of existing city land into the annexed parcel; to negotiate a sale of the land from city to district; complete extensive environmental and land-use studies and to permit the building if the preceding steps go smoothly. The district will also do its typical due diligence with extensive environmental and land-use studies before moving forward.

Funding for the new elementary school, including property acquisition, is provided by the 2016 bond measure. The district hopes to open the campus by fall 2020 to alleviate overcrowding at Clark and Grand Ridge elementaries. While no boundaries have been drawn yet, the new school is expected to serve all current Clark students who live in the Issaquah Highlands and Overdale Park areas as well as hundreds of current Grand Ridge students.

The 2016 bond measure also included funding for additions and modernizations to existing school buildings throughout the district as well as a new high school, middle school, and elementary.

More information:

Sep 282017

If you want a new elementary school to be built in the Highlands, please come tell the Issaquah City Council during public testimony on Monday, October, 2 at 7:00 PM at City Hall


2020: That’s the target date for opening the district’s next elementary to alleviate capacity concerns at Clark and Grand Ridge Elementary. In partnership with City of Issaquah staff, we have identified a preferred location for the new elementary nearby Swedish Hospital in the Issaquah Highlands. The Issaquah City Council is currently undergoing a series of important land-use decisions about that piece of property, including whether to annex and rezone it. This is just one of multiple steps (property sale, environmental study, permitting …) that need to be approved before we can build a school. If any of these steps falls through and we cannot build on the preferred site, we will immediately begin looking for property outside of the Highlands because all other property in the Highlands would require significantly more time and money to acquire than is available.
Many Clark and Grand Ridge parents attended the City Council’s Sept. 5 meeting, when the council was slated to take action to annex and rezone the preferred property for the new elementary. After a lengthy discussion, the council did not take any action and did not have a specified process to move forward. Many parents have since asked: 
What now? On Monday, October 2, the Issaquah City Council is expected to discuss and potentially take action annex and rezone the preferred piece of property for the new elementary school.
What does this mean for Clark and Grand Ridge students?
The district’s priority is to remain on time and budget building the new elementary to alleviate capacity concerns at Clark and Grand Ridge by 2020.  We are optimistic about our partnership with the city in being able to build in our preferred location by Swedish in the Issaquah Highlands. We will continue to send updates throughout the process because we believe the location of the new school is very significant to Clark and Grand Ridge parents. If you have a strong interest in where the new elementary is located—either within the Highlands or not—this is the opportunity to make your voice heard. 
More information
Sep 012017

Attention Community Members….

Could you please share the information below with your school community, parents, HOAs and friends about this important Issaquah City Council Meeting regarding rezoning for building schools. Your help is TRULY appreciated to get this information out to our community!

Download this Sept5-mtg-VIS notice  to share

Share this info via Facebook  with this photo of notice

Your input is needed at the Issaquah City Council Meeting Tues. Sept. 5th 7-8pm:

The Issaquah School District has found a property to build an additional elementary school near Swedish Hospital in the Issaquah Highlands. ISD believes this property represents our best chance to secure a location for a new elementary school in the Issaquah Highlands.  ISD would also like to build a new middle school on the property that their ISD admin offices are located on in downtown Issaquah (behind IVE) and relocate their admin offices at another property in downtown Issaquah.  In order to move forward with purchasing and building in these locations, city zoning amendments are needed. The Issaquah City Council needs to hear from the community.

The Issaquah Council will hear public comments about these zoning amendments at their next City Council meeting Tuesday, September 5th, from 7:00-8:00 pm.

If you would like to comment why you feel that is important for the zoning to be changed in order to build schools in these locations to accommodate our growing student population, please come to the meeting and give your opinion for a CF-F (facilities) zoning! So far the council has only heard from opponents of the rezoning considerations, but it would be good to let the Council know why this is important to approve!  ISD is trying to manage the growth of our schools by building in these locations, however without the CF-F zoning, ISD cannot build there. Your voices need to be heard on how these new schools would impact your communities.

If you can’t make this meeting, but would like to comment and share your valuable opinion, email the Issaquah City Council here: citycouncil@issaquah.wa.gov

Click here for information on the meeting and location: https://www.issaquah.wednet.edu/event-details/2017/09/06/district-events/city-of-issaquah-council-meeting

Click here for ISD’s community meeting held at Grand Ridge Elementary, Thursday, August 24th regarding a future site in the Issaquah Highlands: https://www.issaquah.wednet.edu/news-details/2017/08/25/community-meeting-review-documents-and-tools



Aug 312017

The Issaquah School District held a community meeting at Grand Ridge Elementary on Thursday, August 24 regarding a future school site in the Issaquah Highlands, and also gave updates on the 2016 Bond.

Deatils of the meetings can be found on the District website HERE: https://issaquah.wednet.edu/news-details/2017/08/25/community-meeting-review-documents-and-tools?utm_content=bufferb4c0e&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

Below is the information you’ll find there.

Tools from the Meeting
Issaquah City Council Email Address: citycouncil@issaquahwa.gov
Click here to visit the Land Acquisitions webpage.

Documents presented at the community meeting:
Building New Schools – the Quest for Suitable Land
FAQ School Siting
Grand Ridge Site Presentation 7-19-17
CF-F Zoning

August 9 School Board Meeting Podcast
Board Resolutions:
Resolution No. 1096 – Concerning Board Support of Proposed City of Issaquah Zoning Code Amendments
Resolution No. 1097 – Concerning Board Support of Proposed City of Issaquah Annexation and Pre-Annexation Zoning for King County Island

Bond Projects Webpage:
2016 Bond Project: Cougar Ridge Expansion Project
2016 Bond Project: Pine Lake Middle School Rebuild
2016 Bond Project: Sunset Expansion Project

Community Meeting Background Information
New schools need to be built soon in the Issaquah School District to accommodate current student enrollment. The community showed overwhelming support for increasing capacity for students when more than 70% voted in favor of approving a $533.3M school bond to acquire property, build two new elementary schools, a new middle and high school, and expand capacity at additional schools. Since the election in April 2016, the District has been hard at work to identify suitable property in an incredibly competitive and expensive market for land within the Urban Growth Boundary. Our goal is to locate schools where the population needs are greatest within these boundaries. However, it has been an extremely difficult process. We have identified properties that would work for us to build schools on, but we need some help in terms of zoning revisions and code variances from the City of Issaquah to make them viable options. Of particular interest is a piece of property adjacent to Swedish Hospital that we believe represents our best chance at building a much needed elementary school in the Issaquah Highlands. As with any development in our region, there are concerns that need to be addressed. This community meeting was held to discuss concerns that have been brought to our attention regarding the size and type of schools we are building, growth in the region, and preservation of trees. Per the materials listed above, we had the opportunity to share and explain our rationale, criteria, and vision for our future schools with our community.

Details about the Podcast
The Issaquah School Board took action at their August 9 regular meeting to support the District in its requests submitted to the City of Issaquah for needed zoning and code revisions. You can listen to the discussion, public testimony, and the subsequent vote via podcast on our website. You are most welcome to listen to the entire podcast. However, the discussion regarding requested zoning changes begins at the 2:12 time mark and you may forward the file to that point.

Hot Topic News Item regarding the Community Meeting.

Hot Topic New Item regarding The Search for Property to Build New Schools – FAQ.

If you have opinions you would like to share with the Issaquah City Council, you may send an email to citycouncil@issaquahwa.gov.

If you have questions or comments for the ISD, please access our online survey form.

Aug 172017

Two important meetings that affect the Issaquah School District’s attempt to secure property for the purpose of building new schools per the 2016 school bond.

Community Meeting on School Siting / 2016 Bond Update
Thursday, August 24 from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m., at Grand Ridge Elementary

Issaquah City Council Meeting
Tuesday, September 5 at 7:00 p.m. at City Council Chambers

The first meeting is a community meeting being held at Grand Ridge Elementary on August 24 from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. This meeting will mainly focus on the property in the Highlands adjacent to Swedish Hospital. We believe this property represents the best chance to site a school in the Highlands. Our goal is to hear community concerns regarding the size and type of schools we are building, growth in the region, and preservation of trees and explain our rationale, criteria, and vision for our future schools.

The second meeting is the Issaquah City Council meeting scheduled for 7 p.m. on Tuesday, September 5. The Issaquah School District is asking the City Council to approve zoning and code revisions we have requested. These zoning and code changes are needed in order to move forward with the Highland site as well as other property acquisitions. Without these changes, the District would be put in a position of asking for code variances that may or may not be approved on the property we purchase. If we purchased property and those variances were not approved for some reason, we would be left with property not suitable for a school. We have a fiduciary responsibility to our taxpayers and purchasing land without these assurances is too risky.

The Issaquah School Board voted in favor of the administration’s requests to the City of Issaquah at their August 9 regular meeting. You can listen to the discussion, public testimony, and the subsequent vote via podcast on our website at https://www.issaquah.wednet.edu/board/podcast. You are most welcome to listen to the entire podcast. However, the discussion regarding requested zoning changes begins at approximately the two hour and twelve minute (2:12) mark and you may forward the file to that point. Additionally, we have an FAQ posted on our website at https://www.issaquah.wednet.edu/news-details/2017/08/16/the-search-for-property-to-build-new-schools-faq.

L. Michelle, APR
Executive Director of Communications

Jun 132017

Public Hearing to be Held Wed., June 14 7PM for Possible Re-purposing of Bond Funds:

The Issaquah School District Board of Directors will conduct a public hearing during the regular school board meeting on Wednesday, June 14. The meeting starts at 7:00pm and will be held in the administration building boardroom at 565 NW Holly Street.

The community is encouraged to attend as the school board will be considering the possibility of re-purposing a portion of voter-approved funding included in the 2016 school bond. Please visit our Bond Projects Page for reference and links to more information.

Bond Proceeds Public Hearing pdf
1093 (Bond Repurpose) Ammend Res No 1063.pdf

Mar 152017

Every four years, the Issaquah School District asks local voters to approve levies to pay for educational essentials that the state does not fund, including school buses, classroom technology, and about 20 percent of the operations budget.

Because our current levies expire next year, the District is forming a community committee now to help plan the renewal levy measures. If you are interested in representing the community at large on the committee, or as a member of your local school, please contact Lisa White at whitel@issaquah.wednet.edu or 425-837-7024 for an application, or pick one up at your local school building by April 7th.

Committee members will consider the overall need, proposed content, total cost, and tax impacts of the ballot measures and present a final recommendation to the Superintendent.

Please be aware that the Levy Development Committee is scheduled to meet from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, May 3 and May 17, with the possibility of additional meetings on Wednesday, May 31 and June 7, if necessary. Committee members should plan to attend each meeting.

If you know someone who would make a particularly good committee member, please extend a personal invitation.

We appreciate your support as we head into this important committee work!

Levy Committee Application2017

Sep 272016



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