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School Board Places Two Renewal Levies, One School Bus Levy on April Ballot 

Graphic: Levy Update, April 26 ballot will include 3 key funding measures

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 Educational Programs and Operations Replacement Levy represents 15.6 percent of the district’s operating budget, and will continue funding for day-to-day school operations not fully funded by the state, including: 

Student Services: 

  • 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. 

Academic Programs: 

  • Funding for special education, Multilingual/English Learners program, highly capable program, elementary Dual Language Immersion Program, secondary summer school and Pre-k summer school. 

Support Services: 

  • Custodial services, maintenance and repair, school safety and security systems. 
  • Student transportation: bus driver salaries, fuel and maintenance. 

Renewal Capital Levy  

The Capital Replacement Levy includes technology as well as funding for building updates. These are projects that are essential to maintaining safety in buildings throughout our district (HVAC, roof repairs, etc.), and to help complete construction of High School #4.

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 

The one-year School Bus Levy would pay to purchase 64 buses when combined with state reimbursement dollars. This keeps the bus fleet current, aligned with state safety standards, and consistent with maximizing bus efficiency to preserve operational dollars. The board voted on Jan. 27 to place the school bus levy on the ballot. The district would use the money to purchase replacement buses in 2023-2026. 

How to get more information on the levies 

We are working to continually add information from the levy proposals to our website, and will share a new Levies 2022 website section with you as soon as possible. It will include additional details, answers to frequently asked questions and more. Between now and election day, we will also share videos, fact sheets and a factual mailer about the levies to all residents in the district. 

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.