Voters in the Issaquah School District will be asked to consider three key levy measures that would help continue funding for programs and positions not fully paid for by the state, such as school nurses, counselors and mental health supports, special education, and safety and security; as well as technology, critical repairs and construction. The School Board on Thursday night voted to place a renewal Educational Programs and Operations (EP&O) Levy and a replacement Capital Levy: Educational Technology and Critical Repairs on the April 26 ballot. Late last month, the board also voted to place a school bus levy on the ballot.
“I believe this money is essential for the district to continue functioning at the level of service that our students need – and at the level that our community expects,” Superintendent Ron Thiele said Friday.
“These are programs that help support our students’ mental and social emotional well-being; they enable us to maintain the breadth and rigor of our academic offerings; and they help keep our students and staff safe and secure day to day,” Thiele continued. “Many of these items in my mind should be state-funded, but instead they are considered ‘enrichments’ under Washington’s education funding model. These levies are crucial to our district’s ability to offer all of our students the opportunities and resources they need to succeed."
He recommended the three measures to the board after the Levy Development Committee reviewed drafts of the proposals and approved all three. The committee included more than 40 members, including community representatives from each school, principals from each region and grade span, and representatives of the PTSA Council and Volunteers for Issaquah Schools, the Issaquah Education Association, classified staff, business community, senior community and community at large. To read about the Levy Development Committee meetings, visit our website.
Last night’s board action means that the April 26 Special Election ballot will include three school funding measures for all voters in the Issaquah School District.
Educational Programs & Operations (EP&O) Replacement Levy
- The levy funds school nurses, counselors, educator salaries, mental health supports, instructional coaches, the 7-period day in high school, family partnerships and equity programs, extracurricular activities and athletics.
- Funding for special education, Multilingual/English Learners program, highly capable program, elementary Dual Language Immersion Program, secondary summer school and Pre-k summer school.
- Custodial services, maintenance and repair, school safety and security systems.
- Student transportation: bus driver salaries, fuel and maintenance.
Renewal Capital Levy
Student and classroom technology:
- The majority of the levy funding is to ensure our students have the technology they need in and out of the classroom, including guaranteed and reliable access to standard equipment for all students.
- Ensures all schools and classrooms have equitably updated technology.
Maintaining our buildings:
- Completing critical safety repairs at our schools, such as HVAC and roof repairs, as part of our regular maintenance schedule.
Ensuring students have room to learn:
- The levy would help the district finalize building a new high school to reduce overcrowding in our growing district.
- While enrollment dipped during the pandemic, we are still addressing the past decade’s growth. Our high schools continue to be over capacity. Issaquah High and Skyline have two of the largest high school enrollment levels in the state of Washington.
- We are so proud of the work already accomplished with funding from the 2016 bond, which has helped us build Cedar Trails Elementary and Cougar Mountain Middle School and rebuild Pine Lake Middle School. The bond also funded the critical expansion and modernization of Beaver Lake Middle School and six existing elementary schools: Clark, Cougar Ridge, Discovery, Endeavour, Maple Hills and Sunset Elementary.
- Changes to city and neighborhood requirements; increasing the green space buffer to be a good neighbor; and inflation have resulted in cost increases for the High School 4 project. The proposed measure includes the funding needed to complete the project. Although many surrounding school districts regularly pay for large school construction projects through capital levies, this is a new use of the capital levy for our district. We have historically used capital levies for critical repairs or smaller public works projects.
Transportation (School Bus) Levy
How to get more information on the levies
How and when to vote
The April Special Election ballots will be mailed by King County Elections to all registered voters in the district in April. If you are not registered to vote, or if you need to update your address with King County Elections, visit their website. Return your ballot by mail (there is no postage cost for mailed ballots in King County) or at any ballot drop box by April 26.