Levy Development Committee 2022
A community Levy Development Committee met from December 2021 to January 2022 to form a recommendation for a package of levies for a 2022 ballot measure. The committee will presented its recommendation to Superintendent Ron Thiele, who brought a final recommendation to the Issaquah School Board at its Jan. 27, 2022 School Board Meeting.
The Levy Development Committee considered the proposed content, total cost and tax impact of three proposed ballot measures: an Educational Programs and Operations Levy (formerly called the Maintenance and Operations Levy), a Capital (Technology and Critical Repairs) Levy, and a Transportation (Bus) Levy. Considering the current economic climate, committee members were charged with proposing levy packages that include funding essential to:
- Ensure the Issaquah School District has all the resources necessary to meet its mission and Ends student learning goals;
- Safely and efficiently maintain facilities and property according to state and district use standards and schedules.
Levy Development Committee meetings were open to the public and held on various Tuesdays and Thursdays through December 2021 and January 2022. Agendas were posted before each meeting; mini summaries were made available two business days after a meeting; and official notes were posted as soon as possible following each meeting.
Levy Measures on April 26 Ballot
- E-mail your comments to Levy2022@issaquah.wednet.edu. Your comments will be shared with each committee member at each meeting.
- Review materials in the public binder at Levy Development Committee meetings.
- Review the materials in the public binder at the Administration Building during business hours.
Dec. 2, 2021
Issaquah Middle School, 600 2nd Ave. SE, Issaquah
- Welcome - Ron Thiele and technical team
- Agenda review and meeting dates/times - Josh Almy
- Introductions of committee and technical team - Josh Almy
- Group operating norms and accessing community feedback - Josh Almy and Martin Turney
- Discuss and take action on quorum requirements and voting thresholds - Josh Almy and Martin Turney
- Presentations on school funding and the role of levies - Martin Turney
- EP&O Springboard proposal and questions - Martin Turney
- Transportation Levy Springboard proposal and questions - Martin Turney
- Overview of next meeting and Closure - Josh Almy
Mini Meeting Summary
The committee voted 35 out of 37 that approval from at least 70 percent of members in attendance is the threshold needed to pass a vote, and voting will be conducted by raised hands. To pass a vote, the quorum is 75 percent.
For the inaugural meeting, committee members introduced themselves and went through the charter and meeting operation norms. The Technical team presented an overview of Public School Finance. They also discussed what the Educational Programs and Operations Levy funds add to the district budget. They received the springboard proposals for EP&O and Transportation Levies.
Committee members will return December 14; they were directed to review the materials, solicit feedback from their respective community and return with questions and comments.
Official Meeting Minutes
In attendance: Laura Ni, Nigar Suleman, Janelle Woffinden, Jen Kessler, Rachael Cox, A.J. Taylor, Lisa Reeder, Shannon Mayo, Toni Hunter, Heather Barker, Peter O’Donoghue, Janet Kelly, Claudia Huzar, Rachel Auffant, Care Maree Harper, Kristi Hammond, Carrie Hipsher, Meg Iyer, Erica Stephens, Korista Smith-Barney, Katelyn Shriber, Jane Harris, Kathy Keegan, LeAnn Tuupo, Michelle Caponigro, John Gardiner, Jeff McGowan, Ashley Landes, Sean Martin, Erin Connolly, Lauren Bartholomew, Dawn Peschek, Laura Berry, Chris Bruno, Joe Stanley, Scott McKorkle, Dana Rundle, Martin Buckley
Superintendent Ron Thiele opened the 2022 Levy Committee with a heartfelt thank you for your work on behalf of our community and appreciative of your attendance.
The goal of the committee is to present him a recommendation that he can then take to the School Board. Once approved by the Board the measure would hopefully be placed on the ballot in early 2022. Levies are only one part of school finance and after McCleary we were unclear if we needed a levy. We have since learned that it remains critical to provide our beyond our definition of basic education. He thanked the group again and looks forward to seeing the outcome.
Superintendent Thiele then introduced two members of the Technical Committee: Dr. Josh Almy, Deputy Superintendent and Mr. Martin Turney, Executive Director of Finance and Support Services.
Dr. Almy welcomed the committee and stated that over the next five meetings we are going to focus on three different levy measures that Mr. Turney will review later in the meeting. He stated that tonight is informational, focusing on the nuts and bolts of meeting etiquette and district finance. We will also vote to set our quorum and voting threshold. He stated that Mr. Turney will present the funding overview, review our springboard proposal and Transportation Levy. He mentioned in the second meeting we will go over our capital levy and technology levy. Dr. Almy also mentioned he was pleased to be able to hold the meetings in person and that we have taken necessary pre-cautions such as choosing a larger venue to increase social distancing, mask wearing and other protocols.
Dr. Almy then directed the committee to the binders which include the power point presentation, district maps, roster and charter. Information has been divided in sections: Tax information, EP&O Levy, Transportation Levy and Capital Levy. Information has been provided initially in this binder, and then additional materials will be added at each meeting. Dr. Almy noted we have created an email address firstname.lastname@example.org to solicit feedback from the community. Community members can also be directed to the district website for committee information including agendas, meeting minutes, and additional materials
AGENDA REVIEW AND MEETING DATES AND TIMES
Dr. Almy reviewed the agenda for tonight’s meeting. He then directed the committee to the parameters of the committee:
- Aiming to keep local school taxes stable, each levy package will including funding essential to: Ensure the Issaquah School District has all the resources possible to meet its mission and Ends student learning goals.
- Safely and efficiently maintain facilities and property according to state and District use standards and schedules.
INTRODUCTIONS OF COMMITTEE AND TECHNICAL TEAM
Deputy Superintendent, Josh Almy introduced himself and had the committee introduce themselves to each other and what community they represent. He also noted three board members were in attendance: Sydne Mullings, Anne Moore and Suzanne Weaver.
Dr. Almy then had the technical team introduce themselves: Martin Turney, Executive Director of Finance and Support Services; Moriah Banasick, Director of Finance; Tom Mullins, Director of Capital Projects; Lisa White and Debbie Rossen who will provide administrative support; Coleen Xaudaro, Director of Transportation; Diana Eggers, Director of Educational Technology; Lesha Engels, Executive Director of Communications. Also, in attendance, but not part of the technical team was Wendy Castleman, Assistant Director of Communications. Absent tonight were Alaina Sivadasan, Executive Director of Equity and Kathy Cropp, Director of IT infrastructure.
GROUP OPERATING NORMS AND ACCESSING COMMUNITY FEEDBACK
Dr. Almy mentioned that the committee is representative of their community and our hope is that they will solicit feedback to bring back to the meetings. Mr. Turney directed the committee to the levy web page on the district website, which also includes the mailbox address for the district levy committee.
DISCUSS AND TAKE ACTION ON QUORUM REQUIREMENTS AND VOTING THRESHOLDS
Dr. Almy reviewed the various representative groups on the committee: School Representatives, Principals, PTSA, VIS, Certificated and Classified Staff, Business Representative, Retired/Senior and Community at Large. These are the 43 voting members of the committee. Technical team and community members that are here to support and listen are not voting members. Dr. Almy discussed how the Committee makes decisions. Historically the committee has chosen a quorum requirement and a threshold requirement for what it takes to change, alter and/or put forward the Springboard proposal.
The committee was then asked to take a short break to determine how it would make further decisions. Dr. Almy noted that historically the group had a 60% quorum requirement but also gave examples of what 70% and 80% would look like.
When the committee reconvened, a motion was made and seconded to adopt a 70% quorum of members present.
The committee then discussed the historical size of the last levy committee. They also mentioned that they felt the work was serious and a higher quorum signaled that. They also recognized a higher quorum, especially in the Covid and busy December environment could prevent them from conducting business. Also mentioned were lower attendance, but higher passage and the ability to communicate to members prior to a meeting if quorum is in jeopardy of being met
A vote was then taken for the motion. By a show of hands, the vote was 35 in favor and 2 not in favor of adopting the 70% quorum of members present.
The committee was then asked to decide what the threshold for the passage of a measure. Dr. Almy stated that historically the threshold has been 75%. The committee took another break to discuss the options.
When the committee reconvened, a motion was made and seconded to adopt a 75% threshold to amend or change the springboard proposals.
A vote was taken on the motion. By a show of hands, the vote was 34 in favor and 3 not in favor of adopting the 75% to amend or change the springboard proposals.
The committee was convened at 6:30 for a 10-minute break
The meeting was reconvened at 6:40.
PRESENTATION ON SCHOOL FUNDING AND THE ROLE OF LEVIES
Mr. Turney then directed the committee to the power point presentation, which is also included in their binders. Mr. Turney then started with a brief explanation of where the money comes from by reviewing Operating Revenue. Budgeted Revenue is $332,404,571. The largest portion come from State Funding (67.1%) which is determined by a series of formula factors including legislatively set base salaries, employee benefits and non-labor allocations. This includes some smaller categorical funding of which our district does not get much money from such as Title 1, special education, free and reduced lunch. The local operations levy provides (15.6%) of the district’s general fund revenues. Local Fees, Tuition, Gifts (12.7%). The largest source in this category is our Before and After School Age Care program which is a very sizable program. Given our socio-economics, we have a small amount of Federal Funds (4.4%). These monies supplement special education programs, Head Start, Title 1 and support free and reduced lunches.
Mr. Turney went on to explain what the expenditures look like. Classroom (63.3%) is the largest as you would expect and want. This includes expenditures for teachers, counselors, librarians, principals, para-professionals, textbooks, staff and curriculum development as well as technology equipment and support and extracurricular programs. Special education is not included in this. Classroom support (12%) would include items needed to run a building such as custodians and office professionals. Special Education (11%). Echo Glen (.7%) is a self-supporting state-run juvenile detention facility. Food Service (2%) is also a self-supporting program. Transportation (3.6%) Lastly, other Grants/Programs (7.4%) goes to support special programs such as Learning Assistance Program (LAP) and before and after school child care.
Mr. Turney shared that there are four ways the district is allowed to supplement using taxing measures: Firstly, Educational Programs and Operations Levy (EP&O) which can only be used for Enrichment. Next, we are allowed to run a Transportation Levy which is used for the purchase of Buses. We are also allowed to run Capital Levies which are used for technology, critical repairs and construction shortfall. Mr. Turney then directed the team to the Capital Levy tab which includes a copy of the e-news from the district informing the committee of the need to ask for an additional $43.9 million to complete High School 4. The committee will discuss this more fully at a later meeting. And lastly, we are able to run Bond Measures for major construction, renovation and modernization. We last ran a bond levy in 2016 which passed with a super majority of 60% + 1. This last category will not be a topic for this committee
EP&O SPRINGBOARD PROPOSAL AND QUESTIONS
Mr. Turney shared that the Springboard currently being proposed is for a four-year cycle. It would cover Years 2023-2026. Historically, a four-year cycle is what we have typically put on the ballot. He stated the past two cycles were two-year levies but now is a good time to return to our normal cadence. Mr. Turney stated that the most recent levies amounts were as follows: 2018 EP&O Levy financed $36.3 million in 2019 and $44.9 million in 2020 and the 2020 EP&O Levy generated $49.5 million in 2021 and $54 million in 2022.
Mr. Turney stated that in the 2021-22 school year that 15.6%, or $51.9 million, of the operating revenue is from local levy dollars. These dollars fund for locally valued enhancements (“enrichments”) beyond basic education. He pointed out that the district’s fiscal year crosses the calendar year of the local levy authority. He stated that enrichments are defined by the state in and listed in RCW 28A.150-276.
In a nutshell the state defines what is allowed. When we have a levy, we ask for permission from OSPI as to what is permitted. Some of the permitted activities: Extracurricular activities, extended school days/year, additional course offerings, early learning programs, additional salary cost attributable to the provision or administration of the allowed enrichment activities and other approved OSPI enrichments, although those have not been defined.
Mr. Turney directed the committee to the document Current Issaquah “Enrichments”. Firstly, is Special Education. The first big number to call out is special education, the state and federal government does not cover the cost. This leaves the burden for us to backfill for what we are legally obligated to provide.
We also have Mental Health Counseling Services, and this funds our partnership with Swedish for 13 mental health specialists. Mr. Turney continued down the list of enrichments starting with Liberty Block Scheduling, 7th period High School Day (Issaquah High and Skyline) Secondary Summer School and numerous other enrichments. One area of note is Nursing as this is severely underfunded. The state funds 3 nursing positions, but we currently staff at 13.5. All of the items on the list are unfunded or underfunded by the state. One example of this is sports fees.
He also mentioned that the total does not align as it is based on previous cost. The promise for the previous two-year levy was for these programs and so they will carry on through spring 2022.
A committee member asked what is the definition of an additional responsibility outside of Basic Education? Mr. Turney answered this could include items like web presence, a non-student day or curriculum night.
A committee member asked what is an enrichment that would provide additional staff for class size reduction. Mr. Turney stated that the ability to have these extra responsibilities outside of basic education is what allows us to have smaller class size and ratios
A committee member followed up on with a clarifying question on class size stating that class size is large, are we able to get them smaller with this package? Mr. Turney stated that this is the proposal to get ratios lower.
Moving on to the document Levy Authority, Mr. Turney explained that schools are capped on what they can tax. That we are limited by statutes to the lesser of either: Tax Rate - $2.50/1000 of assessed value which for Issaquah in 2022 would calculate at $93 million or $2,742 per student (increased annually by CPI, Consumer Price Index) using FTE of $20,872 which for Issaquah would be $57.2 million. Even if the community wants higher, we cannot do that as the State determines this authority.
Mr. Turney continued the presentation directing the committee to the Springboard Proposal
We are talking about a 4-year springboard. The district is looking forward to future needs. In order to calculate we must use these assumptions when creating our model. We are anticipating students returning back at 2020 levels, and so will use the 2019-20 FTE enrollment baseline. We are factoring in elevated Consumer Price Index (CPI) for the four-year period as compared to historical average. And the springboard also includes assumes a modest assessed value increase during the period.
In 2023, the proposed amount would be $61,000,000, 2024 would be $64,000,000, 2025 would be $67,000,000 and then in 2026 $70,000,000. In his calculations Mr. Turney is using estimates of inflation and enrollment. We are using safe assumptions. If we have returning students and high CPI, then these are the correct rates per 1000. This is one component of what the tax levy package will look like. We will also add transportation, and critical repairs to build what a total package might look like. We will revisit these numbers once we get to the other two.
Dr. Almy explained the committee would go over the springboard for EP&O and then go over the Springboard for transportation, answering any questions the committee may have.
A committee member asked if we are not increasing the tax rate? Mr. Turney answered we are not gaining or losing. The springboard is just continuing. A committee member asked if we considered doing a two-year levy? We can consider that, but there is benefit to getting back to four- year cycle as was past practice.
A committee member asked if the State was providing additional funding for special needs, such as dyslexia. Mr. Turney responded we do backfill dollars out of our enrichments.
Mr. Turney then presented the Transportation Levy Springboard. He stated that the Issaquah School District services 110 square miles and transports students over 1.4 million miles a year. Approximately 15,000 students are transported each morning and afternoon. The District currently has 175 small and large busses in its fleet in order to provide this service.
Mr. Turney stated that we operate the department and it takes resources. The State coves 72.5% of the cost of drivers, fuel, tires, etc. The remainder are funded from EP&O Levy Funds. In 2021-22 the District will expend $12.8 million for Transportation Operations. This is the operational piece and we are this is not part of the Transportation Levy.
Mr. Turney continued that the Transportation Levy provides funds for bus purchase. The state provides funds based on a depreciation schedule. Monies are reimbursed on a 13-year replacement cycle. Historically this funds 40% to 60% of the purchase cost. We have created a four-year purchase plan for 64 buses. The estimate would be $9.25 million, of which the state will provide $6.25 million. In order to execute the long-term purchase plan, we need to combine State, Local Bus Levy support and the use of transportation reserve funds. The amount requested for a single year Bus Levy for 2023 will be $3,000,000. The request generates an estimated tax rate of $0.07 per thousand of assessed value in calendar year 2023. Mr. Turney said this is consistent with what we did four years ago. This is what keeps a modernized fleet, one that allow you to keep fuel efficiency and safety.
A committee member asked are we capped on Levy amount for busses as it seems like one of our biggest problem is overcrowding on bus routes? Mr. Turney responded there is no cap.
A committee member followed up with another bus crowding issues, saying while they can appreciate keeping cost low, and acknowledging the bus driver shortage, that maybe but public values purchasing more buses. Mr. Turney responded it is complicated, that the rate of reimbursement from the state is also dependent on an efficient model in which we are running full routes. There is also a constraint on where to park the buses as parking lots are full, in addition to the bus driver shortage. Ms. Xaudaro also confirmed that both transportation locations are at full occupancy
A committee member asked if we are looking at electric busses? Mr. Turney responded that we are following the developments in electric bus technology. At this time a typical gas-powered bus is $111,000, an electric bus is $372,000. In addition, our district has 110 square miles, making range a huge constraint. And currently we do not have a recharging infrastructure or time allocation for recharging. Dr. Almy stated that cost wise this is difficult, but in the future we may able to transition. We are just not there yet. Other districts that have added electric to their fleet, but they are much smaller districts. We are learning from them as cost decreases and technology improves.
A committee member stated that the recently passed Federal infrastructure bill may have some funding mechanisms for these types of investments.
A committee member asked what the average mileage and age of busses we sell from our fleet. Mr. Turney responded when we no longer receive monies from the state depreciation model, around 13 years. Ms. Xaudaro added the busses typically have mileage of 200,000 at time of sale.
A committee member asked if there was any additional parking for buses? Mr. Turney responded, possibly at the new High School 4 property.
A committee member asked if the reason we were not adding busses was for lack of drivers, or space? Mr. Turney answered it is not space, but drivers. Also, we need to keep our bus routes full, to keep our high efficiency rating with the state. More busses also mean you lose State funding because they are not being fully utilized.
A committee member asked what is the ratio of students per seat. Ms. Xaudaro responded we typically have 3-4 to a seat in elementary, in Middle and High it is 2-3 to a seat.
A committee member asked if these dollars can be used to hire drivers or increase pay. Mr. Turney responded those dollars can come from the State and local levy. However, the bus driver shortage is not unique to Issaquah. Ms. Xaudaro added that we are doing better than surrounding districts. We continually recruiting and hiring, which typically last one month. But Covid has made hiring, and retaining drivers challenging.
A committee member asked what is 100% ridership and how is it calculated? Ms. Xaudaro answered the drivers take attendance each day during the bus run. This is how we get our funding.
A committee member asked where we can get more information on the efficiency rating from the state. Mr. Turney stated he will provide more information to the committee
A committee member asked what is the scope of decisions the committee can make regarding the Bus Levy? Mr. Turney responded that the bus levy is only addressing replenishing the existing bus fleet.
Mr. Turney then read from a document the exact numbers of buses being purchased and retired in 2023
Dr. Almy advised the committee they would get more information on the Bus Levy and provide prior to the next meeting.
A committee member asked where can we find more information on line items on the EP&O Levy sheet? Mr. Turney asked what would you like to see? We can bring to the next meeting
A committee member asked if the springboard includes any additional course offerings. Dr. Almy explained that courses offered are determined at the building. The addition of the 7-period day at Skyline and Issaquah allowed an expansion of courses as student schedules allowed more than required courses. This was made possible from levy dollars. However, more diverse courses are not a function of EP&O levy funds.
Ms. Engels shared that there was a 27% increase in our CTE programs – programs that include STEM, culinary arts and sports medicine. This gives students more time for exploration beyond requirements.
A committee member asked for additional information regarding the SRO program prior to the next meeting.
A committee member asked how much of the list is up for discussion? Where did the list come from and how can we prioritize. Also what can the committee change and what they cannot? Mr. Turney responded the list came from previous committee review, also reviewed by the superintendent.
A committee member stated they have had previous levy committee experience. Feels that some of these dollars were moved around once we were in a RIF situation.
A committee member asked had questions on Transportation Levy and EP&O; what is the difference in what we get from the state and what it takes to run the department. Asking for more detail on budgets.
Committee is asking for more detail on EP&O, Transportation Levy
A committee member asked when we can get the feedback from the community? Dr. Almy answered we will discuss the cadence and get back to the committee
A committee member asked if the total amount can change? Mr. Turney stated we can’t ask for more but we can change items or amounts.
OVERVIEW AND CLOSURE
The committee was directed to study the materials before the next meeting and return with questions and comments. The technical team will provide additional information as requested from the committee and any community input we receive.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:00pm.
Additional Meeting Materials
Dec. 14, 2021
Issaquah Middle School, 600 2nd Ave. SE, Issaquah
- Welcome and Agenda – 5 minutes - Josh Almy and Martin Turney
- Review and approve minutes from December 2 – 5 minutes - Josh Almy and Martin Turney
- Review charter and charge of the committee – 10 minutes - Josh Almy and Martin Turney
- Additional information from previous meeting and tax rates – 15 minutes - Josh Almy and Martin Turney
- Group discussions and report out on Transportation levy – 20 minutes - Josh Almy and Martin Turney
- Group discussion and report out on EP&O levy – 25 minutes - Josh Almy and Martin Turney
- Break – 10 minutes - All
- Springboard for Capital Levy and questions – 60 minutes - Martin Turney, Diana Eggers, Tom Mullins and Technical Team
- Adjourn - Josh Almy and Martin Turney
Mini Meeting Summary
The committee voted unanimously to approve the minutes from the December 2, 2021 meeting. The committee also voted to 31-4 to approve the Transportation Springboard Proposal as presented.
The committee worked to revise and refine the potential levy package. Discussion centered on the possibility of additional buses above the Springboard Proposal as well as funding the conversion of gas busses to electric. The committee was given the Springboard Proposal for the Capital Levy which included presentations on Critical Repairs/Infrastructure and Technology.
Committee members will return January 6; they were directed to review the materials, solicit feedback from their respective community and return with questions and comments.
Official Meeting Minutes
In attendance: Laura Ni, Nicole Jacobs, Nigar Suleman, Rachael Cox, A.J. Taylor, Lisa Reeder, Shannon Mayo, Toni Hunter, Laura Burnett, Heather Barker, Peter O’Donoghue, Janet Kelly, Claudia Huzar, Rachel Auffant, Cortney Eldridge, Kristi Hammond, Meg Iyer, Jonathan Koshar, Erica Stephens, Korista Smith-Barney, Katelyn Shriber, Kathy Keegan, LeAnn Tuupo, Michelle Caponigro, John Gardiner, Jeff McGowan, Ashley Landes, Sean Martin, Erin Connolly, Lauren Bartholomew, Dawn Peschek, Laura Berry, Chris Bruno, Scott McKorkle, Dana Rundle, Martin Buckley
WELCOME AND AGENDA
Dr. Almy welcomed the committee and thanked them for travelling with the heavy traffic. He directed the group to a list where the committee was broken into small discussion groups of 6-7. He mentioned that the committee will be breaking into these small groups 2-3 times during the meeting tonight. After a brief review of the agenda, he directed the committee to the minutes from the December 2 meeting asking them to take a few minutes to review.
REVIEW AND APPROVE MINUTES FROM PRIOR MEETING
A motion was made and seconded to approve the minutes from the December 2, 2021 Levy Development committee meeting.
By a show of hands, the motion was unanimously approved.
REVIEW CHARTER AND CHARGE OF THE COMMITTEE
Mr. Turney directed the committee to the charter. He reminded the committee that the goal is to send a recommendation to the superintendent on the proposed content, total cost and tax impact of three separate levies: Educational Programs and Operations Levy, Transportation Levy and a Capital Levy which includes technology, capital infrastructure and critical repairs. He also reviewed the parameters of the committee of which the aim is to keep local school taxes stable while providing essentials to ensure the Issaquah School District has all the resources possible to meet its mission and Ends student learning goals. In addition, the District needs to safely and efficiently maintain facilities and property according to state and District use standards and schedules.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATON FROM PREVIOUS MEETING AND TAX RATE
Mr. Turney shared with the committee some additional materials that were requested at the meeting on December 2.
He explained our three comprehensive High Schools are in different jurisdictions. The city of Issaquah and King County were unable to provide SRO staffing for Issaquah High and Liberty High and so the district is now providing security at those buildings. The city of Sammamish is currently able to provide an SRO at Skyline. We are able to use current SRO dollars to fund all SRO staffing. Ultimately, we would like all the High Schools to have a similar model and will be working toward that goal.
Mr. Turney continued to review the list which includes custodial maintenance cost for our buildings, which is roughly 1.5% of our 353-million-dollar budget.
Dr. Almy explained the list comes from a variety of sources; our community, our schools, the community and the Superintendent. All costs not funded by the state or federal government is levy funded. We are also required to fund legally required special education services when not fully covered from other sources. Our community and School Board long asked for 7 period days rather than the 6 period days covered by the State. This list is an illustration of what we have spent in the past and how we will spend in the future. It takes into consideration values of our school board, community and superintendents. As far as taking things on and off the list, this is a function of the district. The focus for the committee should be: are the items reasonable, the cost reasonable and the tax rate is understandable.
Dr. Almy updated the committee that at the last board meeting, the School Board voted to place the levies on the late April 2022 ballot. He reminded the committee that the EP&O Levy Springboard is a full authority levy, we cannot increase the dollars amount as it is at the maximum.
Mr. Turney explained what would happen with the items on the list if the levy were to fail. He shared that he does not solely make the budget decision, that it is a process that the district would have to determine. The largest cost to the district is labor, so cutting cost often means cutting people. Most likely it would be a mixture of program and staffing. Potentially this could increase class size. The district would most likely make those increases in grades 4-12 as the state provides a financial incentive for lower K-3 staffing.
Mr. Turney directed the committee to the RCW which explains transportation efficiency. The districts’ operation must meet a 90% efficiency rating utilizing efficient routing and capacity of vehicles. He pointed out there is a balance between a comfortable bus route with plenty of seating and an optimal busload that results in less transportation spending.
A committee member stated they could see the prioritization of the line items and how the district makes those decisions, but that they would like to make adding line items a part of the recommendation. Possibly adding dyslexia as a line item for example. Is there a way that the committee can also recommend some additional items to show how important they are to us? Dr. Almy responded it was possible, that we could vote as a committee to add an addendum. Mr. Turney also noted that if a line item were added, another would need to be removed to offset costs.
A committee member added that is we were only adding as an addendum, if we can’t change the contents of the Springboard, that they feel a disconnect
A committee member was curious about other budget items, like dyslexia screening. Are they captured on another budget? And what about class size? We are hearing a lot about that from the community. Dr. Almy responded that we currently fund two initiatives from levy dollars PBSES (Positive Behavior Social Emotional Support) and MTSS (Multi-tiered Systems of Support) that have a direct impact on classroom management. And again, un-funded special education services. These are included on the levy budget as well as the general budget.
Mr. Turney reminded the group we will revisit this topic again later in the process.
Mr. Turney began the discussion on tax rate. He directed the committee to the combined tax rate slide. The slide shows the tax rate for the next four years. He mentioned that bonds are part of the conversation, but not what we will be talking about tonight. Our goal is to maintain a stable tax rate of 3.56 over the years 2023- 2026. This shows it broken down into puzzle pieces that add up to the total number.
Mr. Turney directed the committee to the historic tax rate graph. The number for 2022 is a known 3.39% since we have been provided the assessed values. Future dates are projected as we do not yet have all the data. Again, the goal is to keep the rate a stable 3.56.
A committee member wanted to clarify that while the EP&O Levy is at full authority and cannot change, the other two levies as presented could be made higher? That the district is using historical data on what has previously passed. And that you are trying to keep the same historical tax rate. Mr. Turney responded yes, our goal is to keep the tax rate stable while asking for maximum authority on the EP&O Levy. We could ask for more on the other two levies.
GROUP DISCUSSIONS AND REPORT OUT ON TRANSPORTATION LEVY
The committee was directed to break into their small assigned groups to discuss the Transportation Levy. They were reminded this $3 million is for the purchase of buses, not the operating expenses.
The committee broke into small groups to discuss for 8 minutes
The committee then shared their comments.
A committee member asked in 2018-22 how much state funding did the district receive? Dr. Almy agreed to follow up with that information later
A committee member stated that in 4 years, it is going to seem ridiculous that we have not implemented any electric buses. Wondering what the environmental impact might be? The interest in electric buses was seconded by another committee member. Ms. Xaudaro indicated the district has researched and will continue to gather information on feasibility. Mr. Turney also stated some smaller districts, like University Place, have made some electric bus purchases. That we may be able to learn more from talking with them. Also, the Department of Ecology may be providing grants in the near future that could offset the cost between gas and electric
A committee member stated that in theory, we may have a perfect system to support electric since the routes are same each day. Mr. Turney agreed, that we are making the first steps toward electric.
A committee member asked what would happen if there was money left over from the bus levy? Mr. Turney stated that would be unlikely, and that we typically keep a few million as a cushion to aid with cash flow issues as the state reimbursements can be slow.
A committee member asked if there was an appetite to increase the levy ask so we could fund electric, and what next steps would be for that. Mr. Turney responded that the committee can propose adding those amounts.
A committee member asked if they could see what the increased levy amount would translate into tax rate wise. Mr. Turney responded that they would need to return with that information.
A committee member asked how long it would take to convert the entire fleet to electric based on the depreciation cycle. Mr. Turney stated it would take approximately 5 years.
A committee member asked how we could finance the electric charging infrastructure. Mr. Turney replied could possibly do another bond, levy or maybe grant.
A committee member asked if the district has seen the prices on electric busses decreasing. Mr. Turney responded that in the past 4 years there as not been much of a decrease.
A motion was made and seconded to approve the Transportation Levy as presented.
The committee continued to discuss the motion
A committee member asked if the bus capacity could be lower, is there a way to change the levy springboard to achieve this. Mr. Turney responded that the springboard as presented is actually an increase to our fleet and therefore would give us the ability to make these capacity adjustments.
A committee member asked if we can increase the small bus fleet, or make other changes in the ratio of larger to smaller busses. Mr. Turney responded that at this time the mix is illustrative and adjustment decisions will be made at the time of purchase.
A committee member asked for the rationalization for just replacing busses rather than increasing. Mr. Turney replied that the springboard increases the fleet by 20, which is also needed for the new school. It does give additional capacity.
A committee member asked what the fleet size will be in 2026? Mr. Turney stated it would be 195
A vote was taken on the motion. By a show of hands, the vote was 31 in favor and 4 not in favor to approve the springboard proposal as presented. (note: one committee member left the meeting prior to the vote)
Dr. Almy reminded the committee that we do a final vote at the end to see if everything passes as presented.
A committee member asked if there was more opportunity to vote to add more notes? That as a committee, there is not much time for comment and this might be how things get passed without additional information incorporated
The committee adjourned at 6:50 for a brief break.
The committee reconvened at 7:00.
GROUP DISCUSSIONS AND REPORT OUT ON EP&O LEVY
Dr. Almy shared that prior to the third meeting the technical team is going to discuss what mechanisms can be put in place to facilitate more conversation to allow the committee to alter the list as presented. We will move on to the next agenda item and return to EP&O discussion at our next meeting.
SPRINGBOARD FOR CAPITAL LEVY AND QUESTIONS
Mr. Turney reminded the committee that the Capital Levy is divided in two parts: Technology equipment and support to provide modern educational tools and then the other is Critical Repairs and Capital Infrastructure. Projects that are essential to maintaining safety and foundational standards and can also include completing planned school projects. We are going to talk about these separately.
Mr. Turney directed the group to the technology proposal for years 2023-2026. Items in blue are what we are currently funding, dollars needed to pay for what we are already doing. Items in green are critical enhancements we would like to add to the proposal. He went into further detail on some of the critical enhancements: The need to add another staff position for Web Communications. This person would increase our ability to maintain the district and school websites and monitor trafficking. Also, we need another Public Record Request staff position to handle our increased numbers of requests. This addition would be more technical in nature, pulling emails and data mining to support existing staff. The next item, One to One, moves our district to a new model in how we deliver technology in the classrooms. Ms. Eggers will go into this in more detail later. We also have a need to replace and modernize audio systems in the schools, provide hotspots for low income students and provide teacher training and support for new technology.
Mr. Turney introduced Diana Eggers, Director of Educational Technology.
Ms. Eggers directed the committee to the power point presentation on technology. She stated the district goal is to shift from pockets of integration to universal digital learning experiences throughout a student’s K-12 journey. She stated that currently our classrooms are dependent on shared devices such as laptop carts and personal machines.
Ms. Eggers shared that rather than the students engaging in passive consumption, the newly adopted standards would provide students engaging digital experiences to learn technology and use technology to learn. That students would actively be using, coding and designing. The technology would enable peer collaboration as well. We currently have some tools for creativity and innovation, such as ALEXS and I-Ready, we would continue these and expand. In addition, we need to teach students to not only learn existing technology but create learners who can embrace new technologies as they are developed.
Ms. Eggers used the analogy of the three-legged stool to show how we can successfully move to a Universal Digital Learning Experience: Equipment, Professional Development and support. You need all three.
Ms. Eggers continued that equipment would include teaching stations, such as desktop, document cameras and additional cable/port for laptops. Enhancements to the classroom would include audio amplification and charging considerations. She shared that student to teacher ratios would be Kindergarten: 3 to 1, First-Second Grade: 2-1, Third-Fifth Grade: 1-1 in class and then Middle and High School: 1-1 take home. She elaborated at the younger ages we see students engaged in small group work in the classroom. In the higher grades we envision a take home program. We have recently been piloting a Middle School take-home program and that has given us valuable insights on student needs and wants. Also, we want to be able to provide mobile hot spots for our low-income students.
Ms. Eggers moved to the next leg of the stool, Professional Development. Training teachers so that they can effectively integrate technology use in the classroom.
Ms. Eggers explained that currently we do provide technology professional development for our teachers. At this time, while it is paid, it is optional. We are looking for a way to see if we can add more professional development, and possibly make that mandatory. That requires a conversation with our teachers and coming to a mutually acceptable Collective Bargaining Agreement. Ideally, we introduce a topic to the entire group and then utilize our TOSA’s (Teachers on Special Assignment) who are training and curriculum specialists, to train, share, develop, collaborate, reflect and ultimately support the technology. We would also like to create a lab so that we can model what an integrated classroom would look like.
Ms. Eggers provided the committee with a timeline of what an elementary school year would look like. Establishing routines is already done in September. This would be a time for staff to assign devices and the initial introduction of the machine. Moving though the year we would explain selecting the tool appropriate to the learning task and then moving into critical thinking with research and evidence-based argumentation. Lastly, the year would conclude with producing for an authentic audience.
Lastly the third leg of the stool includes support. Support would include teacher Instructional Support, Online Access Support which provides support for teachers, students and families with access to online textbooks and tools and then Support with hardware, software and network issues.
Ms. Eggers concluded with emphasizing the shift from pockets of integration to universal digital learning experiences throughout a student’s K-12 journey.
Mr. Turney directed the committee to view the slide showing the technology rates and amounts for the four-year technology levy.
Moving on to the Critical Repairs/Capital Infrastructure levy, Mr. Turney introduced Tom Mullins, Director of Capital Projects. Mr. Mullins shared a list outlining the most necessary repairs and improvements. He explained that keeping our buildings in good repair and the amount for completing HS #4 make up the majority of the list. Items on this list include ovens and coolers for Food Service, strategic uses of portables, ADA accommodations, student furniture, and security items to name a few. He also mentioned that our Holly Street Campus creek bank was severely eroded during a flood. The District has been working with FEMA, the City of Issaquah and Army Corp’s of Engineers to repair. Also included is the remodeling cost to Holly Street to house an early learning center. We must also pay for unfunded mandates from the state such as the new lead testing bill and HB 1257, the clean building standard.
Mr. Turney continued with a brief overview of projects completed from the 2016 Bond Measure. He then shared the revised project cost for HS#4 and how the district landed on the $44 million that is now included in the 2022 Capital Levy. Originally projected cost was $120 million for HS #4. We now have to factor in 6 years of inflationary increases and unforeseen cost increases which include additional permitting costs, parking garage requirement, street improvements and general supply chain costs. Also included are the cost of completing the design and pad for Elementary #17. While we are not building Elementary #17 at this time, completing these items now is a cost savings for later.
Mr. Turney stated that the revised project cost was now $198 million. We currently have $154 million in resources for this project, monies initially slated for HS#4 and Elementary #17. The needed deficit is $44 million.
A committee member requested more detail on how the $36.6 million in inflationary increases was derived. Mr. Turney shared they calculated the cost escalation was specific to construction. Mr. Mullins mentioned they calculated a 4.5% escalation over 6 years, 2017-2022.
A committee member asked why we are choosing a levy versus a bond for the additional funds? Mr. Turney responded that the preference is to pay for the increases now given the amount needed to complete the project and ability to keep the tax rate stable. Levy dollars would be collected and used in the near term. Bonds are typically utilized when the amount needed is substantially larger and payment of the debt pushed out into the future.
A committee member asked why we are including an additional $15 million for Elementary #17 pad, thought this was already accounted for. Mr. Turney stated that since we pulled the entire $34 million elementary #17 proceeds into available resources, we needed to account for this amount.
Mr. Mullins confirmed for a committee member that only the cost of design and pad completion are included, not completion of elementary #17.
A committee member asked is the three levies are separate or together? Dr. Almy responded that the community will vote on them each separately.
A committee member asked if there were unforeseen construction costs, is it possible the district would use technology funds? Possibly using them to such an extent that technology projects could not be implemented? Mr. Turney responded that they live in their own separate budgets. The answer is no, technology funds would not be used for building repair and construction.
A committee member questioned why safety is only $100k? Mr. Turney answered that the district has already invested in many safety features such as building vestibules, emergency buttons, additional fencing and locking perimeter doors. In addition, we have invested in mental health counselors, risk assessments, tip lines and other safety measures. These dollars are to repair and replace existing safety technology like cameras and card readers
A committee member asked where software costs are listed. Ms. Eggers responded it a line item, listed on the technology levy sheet
A committee member asked how they derived the numbers for $36.6 million in inflationary increases. Feels that nationally the rate is 5% but that Washington State may be closer to $2.5%. Mr. Turney stated for this model, the district used 4.5%
A committee member asked if are investing the dollars we have already collected from prior bonds and levies? Mr. Turney replied we are restricted in our ability to do that. We must keep proceeds in the King County Investment Pool which provides very low returns. We do accumulate some interest and we use to pay for other projects. Those numbers are not included.
Mr. Turney offered to bring some additional data regarding the $36.6 million in inflationary increases and how the number was derived.
The committee broke into small groups to discuss for 7 minutes
The committee then shared their comments
A committee member voiced concern that the HS#4 budget will still not be enough or on time.
A committee member questioned the $36.6 million in delays and how this will impact children.
A committee member is also concerned about the costs and delays, but not a huge surprise. Is also concerned about future delays.
A committee member commented that while the levy is a tough sell, technology is something the community wants. Feels that messaging will be key in passing the levy.
A committee member stated that $44 million should potentially be a bond and it is hard to swallow. Looking to the future will we have to ask for more to complete the school. And on the technology levy, the one-to-one, is it true one-to-one or can some bring their own? Is software included?
The meeting was adjourned at 8:00pm
Additional Meeting Materials
Jan. 6, 2022
Virtual, and livestreamed on YouTube
- Welcome and Agenda- 5 minutes
- Review and approve minutes from December 14 meeting – 10 minutes
- Break-out group conversation #1 – 15 minutes
- Report out from groups – 15 minutes
- Break-out group conversation #2 – 10 minutes
- Report out from groups -20 minutes
- Break – 15 minutes
- Break-out group conversation #3 – 15 minutes
- Report out from groups – 15 minutes
- Large Group Discussion -15 minutes
- Follow up on Capital Levy Questions from December 14 meeting -15 minutes
Mini Meeting Summary
The committee voted unanimously to approve the minutes from the December 14, 2021 meeting. The committee also voted to 35-4 to approve the Educational Programs and Operations (EP&O) Springboard Proposal as presented with a recommendation to the superintendent for additional funding for the highest level of mental health services and counselors.
The committee worked to revise and refine the potential levy package. Discussion centered on the EP&O springboard. The committee was generally supportive of the springboard proposal. Concerns remain on how to effectively message needs to the community and support of the levy by the larger community. The meeting concluded with a brief presentation of the construction portion of the Capital Levy Springboard.
Committee members will return January 18 to discuss the Capital Levy Springboard.
Official Meeting Minutes
Official Minutes – January 6, 2022
In attendance: Laura Ni, Nicole Jacobs, Nigar Suleman, Janelle Woffinden, Jen Kessler, Rachael Cox, A.J. Taylor, Lisa Reeder, Shannon Mayo, Toni Hunter, Laura Burnett, Janet Kelly, Claudia Huzar, Rachel Auffant, Care Maree Harper, Cortney Eldridge, Kristi Hammond, Meg Iyer, Jonathan Koshar, Erica Stephens, Korista Smith-Barney, Katelyn Shriber, Jane Harris, Kathy Keegan, LeAnn Tuupo, Michelle Caponigro, John Gardiner, Jeff McGowan, Ashley Landes, Sean Martin, Erin Connolly, Lauren Bartholomew, Dawn Peschek, Laura Berry, Chris Bruno, Joe Stanley, Scott McKorkle, Dana Rundle, Martin Buckley. Joining later in meeting: Peter O’Donoghue
WELCOME AND AGENDA
Dr. Almy welcomed the committee to the Zoom and thanked them for their flexibility. He shared that he wanted to have as many members present as possible with the weather and ongoing Covid concerns. Dr. Almy proceeded to take attendance. He confirmed that we have a quorum of 38 present and that with a threshold of 75% we would need 29 to pass a motion.
He stated that the work moving forward is to have the committee ask as many questions as possible. That we would be breaking into our small groups numerous times to facilitate discussions. He reviewed we would be voting with the voting buttons and that only voting members should participate.
He quickly reviewed the agenda and the different times allotted for small break-out groups during the meeting. He will provide a driving question to the group prior to each break-out. He stated that the focus of this meeting is the EP&O levy, but we will end the meeting with a short discussion of the Capital Levy including providing requested information from last meeting.
REVIEW AND APPROVE THE MINUTES
A motion was made and seconded to approve the minutes from the December 14, 2021 Levy Development meeting.
By voting ballots, the motion was unanimously approved.
BREAK-OUT GROUP CONVERSATION #1
Prior to dividing into break-out groups, Mr. Turney shared with the group a state grant application the District is currently submitting. The grant would offset the difference in cost for up to 3 electric buses. This is an example of some other funding sources we are actively pursuing in the conversion to electric.
Dr. Almy then announced the prompt for the first break-out session: Youe have been on this committee for 6 weeks. Please share the feedback you are getting from your community on the proposed levy springboard. The committee then broke into their groups for 15 minutes.
REPORT OUT FROM GROUPS
The committee reconvened to share their comments:
Group 1 shared they mostly discussed the Capital Levy. They stated there is confusion of why we are asking for more money on a school that has not yet been built. Would like more information on what the past bond accomplished and where we are now, a reminder of the timeline so far. They also questioned why the federal and state government is not providing more of what is listed on the EP&O levy springboard
Group 2 then shared their discussion. They talked about general feelings of frustration that the Levy might not pass. Hoping that the community will come through since school is important. Frustration that the HS is not built.
Group 3 shared conversation about concern in increased taxes, and the worry of being priced out of their homes. Frustrations surrounding what we are using the money for. Lack of transparency regarding construction projects. Concern that bonds are for buildings, so why is it on the levy? Need to communicate this out.
Group 4 consensus was that they had not heard much feedback from our community with other things happening at the buildings
Group 5 shared they were worried that the word about the levy is not travelling, concerned that the levy will not pass. They are worried about voters that don’t have students and yet vote. They are also concerned about staff and what impact that would have if not passed.
Group 6 concerns included implementation of 1:1 for technology, concern of equity throughout district, concern on transparency. Their conversations were mostly on the Capital Levy
Dr. Almy shared that the focus for the rest of the meeting will be on the EP&O Springboard. That we will have more time for discussion and possibly might get to a point where the committee can make a recommendation.
BREAK-OUT GROUP CONVERSATION #2
Dr. Almy proceeded to clarify some questions from the previous meeting. He reminded the group that the EP&O Springboard represents 14% of the budget. That the remaining 86% of the budget is from state and federal sources. In an earlier meeting, the committee asked how dyslexia services, including screenings, were funded and why we don’t see this item on the springboard. He stated that these are funded through the general budget. That even if the levy were to fail, that we would still continue this work. He shared that, however, there are items in the EP&O that indirectly support dyslexia services. These services are administered by our Teaching and Learning Department. Ms. Eggers, as a member of the Teaching and Learning Department, was then able to provide some ways the EP&O Levy provides additional supports for programs funded by the general budget. Ms. Eggers mentioned that instructional coaches often provide trainings that support dyslexia work. This instructional support is done on non-teacher training days that fall on days prior to school, Wednesdays and other non-student days.
Dr. Almy then introduced the second prompt for the break-out group: Discuss the reasonableness of the springboard EP&O Levy. Is there anything that is keeping you from supporting this? If so, what items do you find unreasonable.
The committee broke into small groups for 10 minutes to discuss
REPORT OUT FROM GROUPS
Group 6 started the discussion, sharing that community members are generally feeling ok with the recommendation. Thinks the levies speak to our values of the community and of our students. Would like to add accountability metrics. Key performance indicators on how we are doing as a district. Might be a good practice.
Dr. Almy shared that we currently have monitoring reports that measure that information and that we can share this.
Group 5 shared that all the items were very important. Wondering how to ensure that we can see where the money is going to, wanting to make the springboard understandable. Dr. Almy concurred that making the information understandable for those outside of the education field is important.
Group 4 broadly supportive of the levy, mostly conversation was about story telling and how we communicate. Conversation included how the committee might be able to add or remove items from springboard. They shared some frustration on how we can engage more prior to springboard being created.
Group 3 feels strongly that we support the overall package, we could use more funding with mental health supports. Feels the buildings are feeling the loss of deans, and other support staff. Could not find areas that we wish to cut. Both mental health and technology are important to community. Discussed how we can best market the levy. Wondering how are other district pulling this off, and how are they able to fund items found on the springboard.
Group 1 feels that there is a lack of trust in the community. They see a need to spell it out, to really explain items like additional teacher work days and extra responsibilities and what that means. Community needs to have benefit explained to them, gain the trust back of the community. Being as transparent as possible.
Group 2 added that educating people to know what these thing are, also letting them know what will go away if the levy fails, things like mental health and technology. Also need to emphasize this is a renewal of existing tax, not an additional tax.
The group took a break at 6:45
BREAK-OUT CONVERSATION #3
Dr. Almy took a quick headcount of the group which is still at 38 members. He then shared that the technical team heard a theme with the reports from the groups. He felt we had momentum and good thoughts. He recapped what he had heard from the break-out groups both the positive and the concerns. He emphasized that story telling and explaining would be important in presenting the levy to the community.
Ms. Engels shared how the district could communicate information about the levy to the community. She noted the district does have limitations, that we must remain neutral on the outcome of the levy. She mentioned the district currently is gathering feedback with an online survey to better understand the community and their wants and needs. She stated that we currently provide videos and photos of our programing and we keep the community updated with newsletters. She also mentioned that in our next mailing we must provide both a pro and con statement in regards to the Levy.
Dr. Almy asked the group to go to the final chat with the prompt: what can your group support in the EP&O levy and after talking do you feel like your group is ready to make a motion. If not, why not? Is there more dialogue.
A community member mentioned that they were ready to make a motion. Dr. Almy stated he felt that we may be ready for this after returning from our break-out groups.
A committee member who was watching the group via You Tube, was now able to actively join the zoom group increasing the committee to 39.
The committee broke into small groups to discuss for 15 minutes
REPORT OUT FROM GROUPS
A committee member mentioned they would like break out session questions prior to the next meeting so they could be better prepared.
Group 1 ready to make a motion
Group 2 ready to make a motion – want more mental health but understand
Group 3 wants to make a push for mental health, want it funded what it was prior to the RIF
Group 4 is broadly supportive, mostly focusing on storytelling and messaging. Also the viability of the levy. Worries about Covid, dissatisfaction with ISD to get levy passed.
Group 5 appreciated the details, felt they could support.
Group 6 came to consensus that we feel good about it. Acknowledged it took time to get to this space, so wondering how will this translate to communicating this to the community
LARGE GROUP DISCUSSION
A motion was made and seconded to approve the EP&O springboard as presented with a recommendation to the superintendent for the highest level of funding for mental health and counseling services.
A committee member asked how we can get other motions on the table.
Dr. Almy stated that we can make amendments to the motion, and then discuss that motion,
Also, can revisit at the last meeting as we will vote the three springboards as a package.
A committee member asked if there are other ways to fund mental health?
Dr. Almy said that the ISD has had a decline in enrollment. If the enrollment were to increase, then that would increase our dollars. We also could ESSR dollars, federal dollars, that were doled out using free and reduced lunch data to each district. We did not initially qualify for much, but we may be able to get more down the road.
Mr. Turney mentioned that the Federal and State government are also contemplating increased funding to the school districts and we are closely monitoring this.
A committee member mentioned that the motion was made prior to break, explaining why the group went so quickly to the motion before discussion.
A committee member shared two concerns. One is that we appear to be on our way to approve the EP&O Levy, wants to table the motion to make amendments.
The committee discussed the rules, and agreed that the motion does not need to be tabled, but rather amended. Once amended the committee will vote on the amendment and either amend or return to voting on the original motion.
A committee member asked what the 4 million for SEBB implementation.
Mr. Turney answered this is the change to the state medical plan which is more expensive than the districts previous plan. It is more expensive as more employees are eligible and has a different rate structure.
A committee member proposed an amendment to the motion, and it was seconded, asking that the committee remove the item LHS 7th period implementation.
Mr. Martin explained that the School Board has already issued a resolution and directed the district to move from an 8-period block schedule to a 7-period day by 2022. This funding is just to match the same funding at Skyline and Issaquah High. This funding is not the driver of the change, but rather the funding to implement the School Board’s resolution.
A committee member added there is also 3.26 million for Skyline and Issaquah High in the springboard as the state only funds a 6-period day. This is actually not an increase, but rather the 8 period day is more expensive.
A committee member asked the committee if the amendment is a desire to lower the levy cost or if additional programming is wanted?
A committee member asked are we able to add dollars toward art docents instead of the Liberty 7 period day.
A committee member mentioned that many Liberty parents want to stay with the 8-period day.
A committee member asked what is the 8-period day or 7-period day more expensive?
A committee member asked to vote, and it was seconded, on the amendment as presented to remove the LHS 7 period implementation from the springboard.
A committee member commented that only Liberty does not have nest or rest time, so less access to counselors.
A vote was taken on the amendment to remove the 7th period day from the EP&O Levy Springboard. By voting buttons, the vote was 7 in favor and 32 not in favor.
The amendment did not pass
A vote was taken to approve the EP&O springboard as presented with a recommendation to the superintendent for the highest level of funding for mental health and counseling services.
By voting buttons, the vote was 35 in favor and 4 not in favor, or 88%.
FOLLOW UP ON CAPITAL LEVY QUESTIONS FROM DECEMBER 14 MEETING
Mr. Mullins shared a recap of the 2016 Bond, which was 533 million. Projects and purchases completed to date include: Purchase of 70 acres which as provided 5 school sites, Construction of Cedar Trails Elementary, Rebuilding of Pine Lake Middle, Expansion and modernization of Beaver Lake, Clark, Discovery, Endeavor, Maple Hills, Sunset and Cougar Ridge. Nearing completion is the new Cougar Mountain Middle School. Also included, acquiring new central office building, implementing safety measures and renovation of Holly Street. All that is left at this time is Elementary 17 and the New 4th High School. Why are the projects delayed? We acquired the property in 2016 but have been delayed due to landmark status of the building, time spent in court and various other issues. We took possession in June 2019 and then full possession in December 2020.
Mr. Mullins shared the document construction cost escalation calculator. He explained that construction escalation is different than inflation, typically expressed as CPI. Construction escalation is the price of supplies, labor costs and labor delays. He directed the group to the document where it shows different measurements of escalation. We used three indexes that are independent, industry recognized sources.
Mr. Turney added that ¾ of 2021 was known, the last quarter is an estimate. We used an average for that.
A committee member asked about the 6.6% for 2022, and who is the industry partner. Mr. Mullins responded we used Skansa and Cornerstone. While there is a wild swing between the low of 2020 and thigh of 2022 that is the best guess at this time. The original estimate was done in 2015 and it had 2 years of escalation built in.
2015 was the original estimate, 2 years of escalation built into it.
Mr. Mullins walked the committee through the next document escalation document which shows the numbers associated with the 5-year delay. He also noted additional scope that was added to the project: added parking garage, extensive right of way work that was not anticipated by the City of Sammamish, cost of enhanced buffers from neighboring community, additional costs of permitting, cost of making Elementary 17 “pad ready” and additional hedge for unknowns.
A committee member asked if these funds were invested?
Mr. Turney responded that we only bring on bonds as needed, we don’t hold these dollars now. Any dollars we do have can only be very conservatory invested.
A committee member asked what are plans were before being required to build a parking garage? Mr. Mullins responded we typically build large asphalt lots.
A committee member asked if they could be provided on more guidance and documentation prior to the next meeting. Wants to come prepared, informed and ready to work rather than digest this information during the meeting
A committee member also asked for the break out group topics to be shared prior to the meeting as well.
Mr. Turney assured the committee they would provide the committee this information prior to the meeting.
A committee member asked if there is possibility we would not build Elementary #17? Pouring the pad would be wasted dollars if we did not build
Mr. Turney answered that even with the lowered enrollment, our projections indicate that we will eventually need another elementary school.
A committee member asked if we can separate the technology from the capital piece before the committee votes
Mr. Mullins mentioned he is available to answer any questions the committee may have before the next meeting.
Dr. Almy thanked the committee for their hard work and willingness to stay later then the scheduled time. He shared we will continue to focus on the Capital Levy at the next meeting.
Meeting was adjourned at 8:15 p.m.
Additional Meeting Materials
Jan. 18, 2022
Virtual, and livestreamed on YouTube
- Welcome, Roll Call, Quorum and threshold met – 5 minutes
- Review and approve minutes from January 6 meeting – 5 minutes
- Quick review of procedure for making motions and taking votes – 5 minutes
- Review of technology portion of Capital Levy -10 minutes
- Break-out group conversation #1: What are your thoughts on the technology portion of the Capital Levy? Share why you would or would not be able to support the technology portion of the Capital Levy – 15 minutes
- Report out from break-out session #1 – 15 minutes
- Address questions sent to the technical team regarding the capital infrastructure (HS#4)/critical repairs portion of the Capital Levy - 20 minutes
- Break – 10 minutes
- Break-out group conversation #2 – Discuss the capital infrastructure (HS#4)/critical repairs portion of the Capital Levy. Share why you would or would not be able to support that springboard – 15 minutes
- Report out from break-out session #2 -15 minutes
- Large group discussion and possible break-out if needed- 30 minutes
Mini Meeting Summary
The committee had 41 members present. 40 members voted, voting 40-0 to approve the minutes from the January 18, 2022 meeting. The committee also voted to approve the technology portion of the Capital Levy Springboard Proposal as presented. There were 41 members present, 2 did not vote, 38 voted in favor and 1 voted not in favor
The committee’s work focused on the Capital Levy Springboard. Discussion initially centered on proposed equipment and software, professional development and general technology support needed for the district’s proposed shift to a Universal Digital Learning Experience. The committee then moved on to the capital infrastructure/critical repairs portion of the Capital Levy. Discussion included information on enrollment trends, building capacities, a timeline of HS#4 project and a list of completed projects from the 2016 Bond.
Committee members will return January 25 to continue discussion of the Capital Levy Springboard.
Official Meeting Minutes
Official Minutes – January 18, 2022
WELCOME, ROLL CALL, QUORUM AND THRESHOLD MET:
REVIEW AND APPROVE MINUTES FROM JANUARY 6 MEETING
By voting buttons, the motion was passed with 40-0 in favor with 1 member not voting.
QUICK REVIEW OF PROCEDURE FOR MAKING MOTIONS AND TAKING VOTES
REVIEW OF TECHNOLOGY PORTION OF CAPITAL LEVY
Ms. Eggers added we would like to improve from our current model of providing lap top carts that are shared at each building. While it works, the 1:1 will allow much more integration of technology into the curriculum. She presented her three-legged stool as an analogy. The three stool legs are: Equipment Apps and Software, Professional Development and then Support. She stated that all three need to be in place in order for students and staff to take advantage of the laptops.
A committee member asked if we have used a levy before to fund the construction of an entire school. Mr. Turney mentioned historically we have not, typically we use bonds. He reiterated that this is not to fund the entire construction on HS#4, but rather a budget shortfall.
A committee member asked if any other districts are using the Levy mechanism to build schools. Mr. Turney mentioned Seattle has used this mechanism and Lake Washington School District currently have a levy on the February ballot that will be used for construction projects.
A committee member asked if we could use the 1:1 to eliminate school days. Dr. Almy says currently the State of Washington requires we must provide in-person schooling for 180 day minimum to collect state apportionment. We would first need a change at the state level before the district could make this change.
A committee member asked what will be provided to a new school, versus an established school. Ms. Eggers says the levy will provide computers to each classroom, and so another positive would be that the technology would be spread over the district more consistently.
BREAK-OUT CONVERSATION #1:
REPORT OUT FROM GROUPS
Group 5 had questions on what 1:1 in the classroom would look like and how it would work. Several are in favor of the springboard as is. Did not have any negatives
Group 4 shared that they are worried that the younger grades don’t have 1:1. Also concerned for those who may not have technology, wanted to know what percentage of ISD students applied for laptops this current year. Wondering why the PTSA’s are asked to support the request for more laptops and I-pads.
Group 3 questioned whether the springboard had factored in dollars to cover breakage, loss and theft, especially at the younger grades. Also concerned that cost to implement over multiple years may not be included. Have questions on software support and that it appears a lot of funds are earmarked for training.
Group 2 Liked that it gave all children access. Liked that the laptops are not gathering dust, but rather thought has been given for training and integrating into the curriculum.
Group 1 They support in general. They questioned the line item for the creation and maintenance of teacher websites, that this is possible overfunded. They were concerned some families may be hesitant to take on the financial obligation of checking out a laptop, questions was for the creation of teacher websites and then the hesitation of some families to take responsibilities for a computer for economic reasons. They were also concerned that the 1:1 technology model was dependent on future levy dollars.
Ms. Eggers answered that a true 1:1 would give all students 6-12 a school issued device. This is what is proposed. Also, currently what is being used with the middle schoolers this year is a hybrid, where some students are using a district device and other are using their own device. She says this is not ideal, that we feel using only district issued devices to be the best path forward. One reason for that is a family may be hesitant to load an application or software that the district requires. For example, we currently rolling out an app called Respondus, which locks down the browser and does not allow the student to access other browsers or websites while taking a test. A family may not want that loaded on their personal device for various reasons. We also use monitoring software on our devices as a way to prevent self-harm for students. There are a lot of issues to putting district licensed software on personal devices.
Ms. Eggers then continued with the districts reasoning on why a true 1:1 may be inappropriate in the younger grades. With K-2 students we need to be cognizant on how much time is spent on screens that at this age there are often more effective teaching methods. We envision them breaking into small groups, one group using the technology, one group meeting with the teacher, and another group doing a different activity and then rotating through the stations. Not sure that they are ready for younger students to have the device 24/7 or if that is appropriate.
Ms. Eggers also agreed that using PTSA dollars across the district is contributing inequity in the district. We are also causing inequity when the district rewards teachers that attend training with machines. While a great incentive at the time, this can cause buildings that have more machines than others. The levy dollars will allow us to standardize and distribute the technology across the district.
Ms. Cropp said currently the district is on a 5-year replacement cycle, and that the repair rate is under 5% so feels fairly confident that cost of damage, loss and repair is minimal. We have planned for spares in the calculations. We have also learned from the Middle School deployment this year that district level support needs to be more immediate and in real time. That we need to be able to get working technology in the hands of students more quickly.
A committee member asked if we will have adequate software support. Ms. Cropp answered the staffing included in the springboard does add increased staffing on both the educational technology side and the IT department side. We anticipate adding 1500 additional laptops so that does increase the need for district support.
A committee member voiced a concern for the high amount of the teacher training in the springboard proposal.
A committee member voiced a concern for the line item funding teacher websites that teachers are paid to create and maintain their websites. Ms. Eggers responded that we are currently reviewing this practice, that initially in the early 2000’s websites were more time consuming to implement and maintain, but as technology has evolved we have other methods of communication and less emphasis is on this. That possibly, we could transition these dollars to other trainings.
Ms. Eggers also concurred that the district would need to address and work with families that are hesitant to take on the financial obligation of a district assigned student laptop. We would need to discuss how we can handle, possibly insurance, but definitely something to talk through.
Ms. Cropp added that the Issaquah Schools Foundation did fund some repairs and unreturned laptops of students, identified by principals as having a financial hardship.
A committee member looking at increased staffing in springboard. Ms. Eggers answered that we would need that staffing whether we went to 1:1 or not. Some of the dollars are just maintaining our existing delivery model. Is there any incremental staff to support 1:1? Yes, there is. Would like to increase TOSA (Teacher on Special Assignment) staffing. They train and integrate technology into curriculum with the teacher. The new model would also provide some release time for staff during the school day, so they could work with trainers in their own classrooms on how to best integrate the technology.
A committee member asked how this amount of funding is going to move the bar? Ms. Eggers pointed out that other line items may be able to be used. For example, the line item funding teacher websites that could be transitioned to something else.
A committee member, who is also staff member, mentioned they could access 20 hours of professional development. Ms. Eggers confirmed this. She reiterated we would like to restructure the current training offerings, add more face to face as well as more required trainings.
Mr. Turney asked the committee if they were ready to make a motion now or would prefer to move on to the next topic
A committee member mentioned that putting all lessons on Canvas, it takes quite a bit of time. That having this student resource is making it easier for students and families to follow along. The websites are very helpful and the effort is appreciated
A motion was made and seconded to approve the technology portion of the capital levy as presented.
A vote was taken on the motion by voting buttons. The vote was 38 in favor and 1 not in favor to approve, and 2 did not vote.
The committee adjourned at 6:55 for a brief break
The committee reconvened at 7:15. One committee member had to leave early, so now there are 40 members present, making the voting threshold 30 to pass a motion for the remainder of the meeting.
ADDRESS QUESTIONS SENT TO THE TECHNICAL TEAM REGARDING THE CAPITAL INFRASTRUCTURES HS#4/CRITICAL REPAIRS PORTION OF THE CAPITAL LEVY
A community member stated that back in 2016, the bond funded quite a list. Another $44 million, is the ask on the levy. So essentially you are asking for 8% more on the total package, or a 25% increase if you include the construction of elementary #17. He questions is there are proper controls at the district so this would not happen again. Mr. Turney responded that our Capital Projects team is continually monitoring budgets that is tough to go over details in a meeting like this.
Dr. Almy reminded the committee that only committee members are allowed to speak during the meeting and that others can view and submit questions through the levy mailbox.
A committee member asked if the budget could be broken down into what was controllable by the district and what was not. For instance, the district cannot control inflation. So then the district could focus on the budget items in its control.
A committee member stated the pad is proposed for $15 million, and if we don’t do that now would be an easy line item to remove
Mr. Turney did a quick share a graphic of the average enrollment as a trend. We do see the pandemic dip, but we are still seeing those numbers return at higher grades. He continued that middle school trend has trended down, as have the elementary. We are not seeing an immediate need, so therefore could delay the elementary, but still seeing the need for a 4th High School. He also shared a handout listing the annual average FTE (full time equivalent) of the largest High Schools in the State. Issaquah currently has two high schools on this list at third and eleventh place. He also shared a slide showing how many portables we are using at all three high schools.
A committee member asked what we are expecting moving forward, are numbers trending up in the far term, say 2026 and 2027? Or would staying at this size be reasonable for a period of time. Mr. Turney says it is hard to determine the trend and we are unsure of the answer.
A committee member asked why we are excluding the RS students in the numbers. Mr. Turney responded that we could use those numbers, counting students using head count, but that the upward trend is the same with either method.
A committee member stated prior to tonight that there was a letter from Providence Point retirement community. Are we able to look at that, feels they will be important stakeholders in the upcoming vote and want to understand all of their concerns and the district’s response.
Mr. Mullins then addressed removing the cost of the Elementary #17 pad from the capital levy. He explained it is more complicated, not just creating a pad, but rather the terminology is about making the entire site ready and with the ability to have multiple buildings at the site. Creating a sewer system that is capable of handling both buildings instead of replacing one you just put in. Making sure the utilities are placed so that they don’t interfere with future construction, planning on where you install hardscapes and roads so you don’t end of just ripping them up a few years later. He state you just can’t pull the $15 million out, that this is design work as well that needs to be done for both schools. Would be very expensive to do later.
Earlier a committee member had asked if there are any additional projects on the way. Mr. Mullins answered that we are still working on the Issaquah High stadium renovation, due to permitting delays. Mr. Mullins continued with a list of projects already completed with the 2016 bond: He reviewed the list of projects already done including purchase of 70 acres within the Urban Growth area, construction of Cedar Trails Elementary, rebuilding Pine Lake Middle, expansion and modernization at Beaver Lake Middle, Clark, Discovery, Endeavor, Maple Hills, Sunset and Cougar Ridge. Acquiring the Administration Building, Skyline track and field, changing over to synthetic turf at all 4 middle schools and the renovation of Holly Street administration building into an early learning center.
Mr. Mullins continued with a review of the Providence Point letter. He shared that we started with an eminent domain process which took 3.5 years to complete and we did not get ownership of the property until June 2020. That delay was not anticipated. The city of Issaquah agreed with the landmark issues, which then took four years. We also did not foresee the amount of monies needed for the right of way work. There will be sections of road that will be 6 lanes wide, and one portion will b 7 lanes wide. We anticipated 4 lanes. In order to get the increased lanes you must cut into the bank, and also then build higher retaining walls. Some of the walls will be 30 feet high. We are also required by the City of Sammamish to carry a four-lane section and other improvements past our frontage, also not anticipated. We did work on the requirements as early as we could; we could not do this work before we were done negotiating with the city. We also included an additional 6 acres to the buffer to try to be a good neighbor, increased from the 6o foot minimum. But adding this buffer, tightens up the site, so you almost create and island in the center of the site. This then requires retaining walls and other hardscapes. The Providence Point claims there is no need for a stadium. The district feels that to not build a stadium would increase use and traffic at the other stadiums. This would also increase transportation costs into perpetuity. Also they bring up the removal of trees and other impacts to nature on the property. Tom explained the district has little choice, there is no other property of this size within the school district and inside the Urban Growth Boundary (UGA) 70% of our district property is outside the UGA, we can only build in 30% and there is not much land left and this is the last 40 acre tract. He also stated our mitigation to the land will lessen the storm water issues at the providence point site. The site plan as a whole is designed to balance soil removal. We want to minimally import and export soils. We need to keep soil on the site that will become the dirt for the pad. We need to clear that property for that. He also stated that Laughing Jacobs creek will be improved with our design work, will improve the delivery of storm water into the site.
A committee member asked why the capital levy and tech are combined. Mr. Turney stated this is how we have done this in the past and why they together on the ballot. They are part of the capital levy group, we put like levies together. A committee member stated it is easier to get the tech piece through versus capital piece. Combining those two could be a harder sell, strategically.
A committee member asked if there is a need for extra elementary, many portable being used for supplies. Mr. Mullins stated we would like to right size, getting kids into main buildings.
A committee member asked for repercussions of separating the capital levy pieces. Dr. Almy stated said we could separate them, if that is the recommendation of the committee. Typically, we have presented them together. Also, what happens to HS#4, if it were to not pass. Dr. Almy answered that the decision would lie with the School Board and the Superintendent. We could try to run the levy again, or possibly do something else. It would be their decision.
A committee member asked for more transparency on the capital projects page, stated that the website is not being kept current. Also, they stated that Cougar Mountain Middle school has a retirement community as a neighbor and they seem to have a good relationship. What lessons have we learned working from them that could apply to this situation.
A committee member asked what is the time frame for breaking ground and completion if the levy were to pass. Mr. Mullins replied that the schedule shows the permits this spring, construction starting over the summer. Completion would be 20 months, Fall 2024.
A committee member asked since we collected the bond, are we obligated to use those funds for HS#4 construction. Mr. Mullins stated that would be another decision for the school board and the superintendent.
Dr. Almy noted that there are questions in the chats on Zoom and we will answer those in the next meeting. We have one meeting left to discuss. Very important to have small break outs and get feedback from all members of the committee and community.
Adjourn at 8:01
Additional Meeting Materials
Jan. 25, 2022
Virtual, and livestreamed on YouTube
- Welcome, Roll Call, Quorum and threshold met – 5 minutes
- Review and approve minutes from January 18 meeting – 5 minutes
- Superintendent Thiele remarks on final committee meeting - 10
- Break-out group conversation #1: Do you support the critical repairs/HS#4 springboard? If not, why? - 10
- Report out from break-out session #1 – 15 minutes
- Discussion and any motions - 30
- Additional break-out conversations if needed -10
- Taking action on final recommendation 10
- Next steps (Board meeting on January 27, VIS, etc.) - 15
- Thank you and adjourn
Mini Meeting Summary
Unofficial Meeting Minutes
Unofficial Minutes – January 25, 2022
WELCOME, ROLL CALL, QUORUM AND THRESHOLD MET
REVIEW AND APPROVE MINUTES FROM JANUARY 18 MEETING
By voting buttons, the motion was passed with 36-0 in favor.
SUPERINTENDENT THIELE REMARKS ON FINAL COMMITTEE MEETING
BREAKOUT GROUP CONVERSATION #1: DO YOU SUPPORT THE CRITICAL REPAIRS/HS#4 SPRINGBOARD? IF NOT, WHY?
REPORT OUT FROM BREAK-OUT SESSION #1 – 15 MINUTES
Group 2 shared they felt positive funding the High School on the ballot, that the committee realizes it is extra money. They stated that currently Issaquah High and Skyline are so overcrowded and want capacity brought back down to 1800 where they are supposed to be. That overcrowding affects parking and infrastructure. They acknowledged while enrollment may be down overall, it is not down at the High School. They stated that messaging is important. Also added that it is hard for students to find their place at the school, less opportunity for extracurriculars or sports and that a smaller environment would help
Group 3 had overall support of the levy. Concerned about Providence Point community. Wondering what the pros and cons are of breaking out into separate levies. Elementary schools are bursting at the seams as well.
Group 4 was mixed on their support. They had questions around communication and can we do a better job of making the community understand the needs. They noted the overcrowded nature of Skyline and Issaquah High and how it is hard to find your place. Also, may be mental health benefits to a smaller school. They felt even a brief delay would increase the eventual cost.
Group 2 supportive in general concern, curious of splitting the levy, talk about the overcrowded High School and need for school
Group 1 websites support for the capital levy, concern on pad and enrollment trend, campaign strategies, making the capital levy as strong as possible
DISCUSSION AND ANY MOTIONS
Mr. Turney then addressed the pros and cons of splitting the levy stating that breaking it out would be unusual. That a consequence of the failure, would be to try to run the levy again, and that a pro that it would give folks an opportunity to vote on separate projects.
Dr. Almy shared that the capital levy has historically been two things – technology and critical repairs. Critical repairs give us ongoing money to maintain our facilities and the technology portion allows us update and increase our integration of technology into the classroom. That the construction piece is a smaller project, and that it is why it is included. He stated that Lake Washington School District is separating theirs into two capital levies but the amount is a much larger 295 million and maybe that is their reasoning for doing this.
A committee member asked about moving the capital levy to a later date? Mr. Turney responded there would be a fiscal impact. Mr. Mullins added that if the additional funds are not approved then there is some big thinking that needs to happen, that the longer you put this off then the cost will increase. We would like to know sooner versus later if the High School is wanted.
A committee member mentioned that calculating the cost of the HS#4 completion, times the tax rate and then averaging over 4 years, that this portion we are discussing ends up being approximately $19 per month of the total tax cost. That the entire package is a replacement levy.
A community member stated this calculation may be true, and the number relatively small, but nevertheless is still an ask.
Dr. Almy mentioned that the earliest opening date, if construction were to start this spring would be Fall 2024. Any delay on funding would push the date out, a start in the winter months would exponentially push the date out as construction during winter is more difficult.
A committee member state heard all 6 groups express support. That putting on its own makes it more vulnerable and not sure why we would do that.
A committee member mentioned that the south end may not support the levy as nothing specifically in it for them.
A committee member made a motion and it was seconded to approve the springboard levy request for critical repairs/capital infrastructure levy as presented.
A committee member then made a motion and it was seconded to table the motion to approve the springboard levy request for critical repairs/capital infrastructure levy as presented.
By voting buttons, the motion was not approved with 13 approving and 25 rejecting the motion to table.
A committee member stated that separating the levies makes it vulnerable, feels the elementary #17 pad is a wedge issue to get the community to second guess ourselves. Wants to approve as single package.
A committee member stated he was in support of keeping it together. However, there is a risk due to anger and frustration by the larger community and feels some of the answers given by the technical team are soft, that they need to do better.
A committee member stated support of the entire package. They are cognizant that this group is supportive of schools in general and may not represent the greater community.
By voting buttons, the motion to approve the springboard levy request for critical repairs/capital infrastructure levy as presented was approved with 33 approving and 1 rejecting the motion.
The committee took a 10-minute break.
TAKING ACTION ON FINAL RECOMMENDATIONS
A committee member asked if the district had a strategist, someone to articulate the pros and cons of leaving the levy whole versus dividing it out. Ms. Engels stated we do have a strategist; the company is called Strategies 360. They will help develop and create marketing strategies.
A committee member stated that capital projects has nothing shiny for the south end, that keeping everything together gives everyone something.
A committee member made a motion and it was seconded to combine technology, critical repairs/capital infrastructure into one measure.
A committee member asked if there is any polling, wants to know what is the pulse of the community
A committee member believes they need to put them together, that is the best strategy to get them all to the pass.
A committee member thinks voters may possibly vote against the High School, and then we risk losing the tech money if we keep together.
Ms. Engels shared some initial feedback from strategies 360, sharing that technology and capital infrastructure do not carry high support. Critical repairs does show higher support.
A committee member says she wants the technology, that people in her community want to separate the technology piece. Feels leaving together is very risky.
A committee member feels that if these don’t pass then it will be very hard on the schools, will try to get as much as we can approved. Community is very polarized
A committee member stated the cost to rerun the levy is high, that it may have to come from other budgets.
A committee member mentioned that voice and story needs to happen. We need to have more powerful voices to explain why we need this levy to pass.
A committee member stated that he is in full support, feels the district is well staffed and will do a great job.
A committee member voiced support, thinks strategy 360 could help with strategy, VIS can do messaging,
A committee member said they support. And then if they don’t pass, then at that point separate.
A committee member feels unsure of packaging together, wants to get professional advice on how to make it successful
A committee member wants to hear more about the marketing, what is planned.
Ms. Engels stated a survey was the first step, on the levy, satisfaction with the district in general. We should get more information shortly, will help us with strategy. Also, we are currently doing some online marketing, google ads, some videos, info graphics for the general tax payer. Working with educational technology on marketing 1:1. She shared the district website launches tomorrow, will help facilitate communications with the community. Capital Projects website will have more robust information. Stated our messaging needs to be more fact based, and then share those facts with the community.
A committee member is concerned about district satisfaction
A committee member recommended that if we use outside consultants in the future, that we get this back prior to having the committee, having it timed so that we can use the results to aid in decisions.
Dr. Almy did another attendance count and we currently have 39 members present, 30 are needed to pass a motion.
By voting buttons, the motion was approved with 33 approving and 6 rejecting the motion.
Dr. Almy thanked everyone for the conversation and is appreciative of the dialogue.
Mr. Turney presented the consolidated levy package, transportation, EP&O and Critical Repairs.
A committee member made a motion and it was seconded to approve all three springboards as presented.
By voting buttons, the motion was approved with 37 approving and 2 rejecting the motion.
Dr. Almy thanked the committee again for their time and then introduced Ms. Peschek from Volunteers for Issaquah Schools (VIS)
Ms. Peschek shared that VIS is a 501c political action committee, staffed fully with volunteers who support our schools. During the campaign they will work with IEA, PTSA, and other community groups to educate the voters. She feels strong schools make strong communities. Ms. Peschek added while the district must remain neutral, that their group will advocated for the passage of the levy. She reminded the committee that 80% of those that vote do not have students currently attending Issaquah Schools. They anticipate they will market in several ways: putting up signs, bumper stickers, sending postcards, working with educators to send out postcards. She directed the committee to their website, which provides a robust resource of information for the community. She encouraged the group to become involved and to actively educate our community on any mistruths on social media.
A committee member suggested that we have district representatives come to school meetings, such as PTSA meetings. Ms. Peschek mentioned they currently have a full schedule of such meetings and in addition will meet with Kiwanis, Rotary, HOA or any other community-based groups
A committee member mentioned they are hosting the Lake Washington School District Finance director at an upcoming business meeting and extended the invitation to Issaquah.
In closing Dr. Almy and Mr. Turney thanked the committee again for their hard work. He will be handing the recommendation to the Superintendent tomorrow who will make his recommendation to the School Board on Thursday, January 27th. The school board will present their final decision at the February 10th School Board meeting.
Adjourn at 7:53