Issaquah Press – March 15, 2016
By Tom Corrigan
As state law bars school districts from spending public money on levy or bond campaigns, almost all districts have a grassroots, volunteer organization to run public campaigns.
For the Issaquah School District that group is Volunteers for Issaquah Schools. Founded in 1977, the organization is an official nonprofit. Since a kickoff event in January, VIS has been running a campaign to help pass the $533.5 million capital project bond issue on the April 26 ballot. Bond issues in the state need a supermajority of 60 percent to pass.
The VIS has run successful levy or bond issues in the past. But the group this time is trying to reach audiences they may have previously missed, said Alicia Veevaert, VIS vice president.
For example, she said VIS put on a presentation for the Sammamish Mosque.
“They were very welcoming,” said Dawn Peschek, VIS president.
Both Peschek and Veevaert talked about the usual school campaign strategies: mail drops, a possible phone bank, honk-and-wave events and so on. In addition to locations such as the Sammamish Mosque, VIS representatives have appeared anyplace they’ve been invited to speak.
“We’ve done presentations at each and every school,” said Veevaert.
They’ve also been to meetings of the city councils in Issaquah and Sammamish and homeowner groups all around the area. And besides selling the bond, VIS runs a steady get-out-the-vote campaign.
The deadline to register online in order to vote in the April election is March 28. In-person registrations for first-time voters will be taken until eight days prior to the election, or April 18. Ballots will be mailed April 6. VIS has a mailing going out to voters that same day.
District numbers show only about 30 percent of area voters have children in the school system.
“We kind of expect them to vote support us,” said Suzanne Weaver, a member of the district’s board of directors and the VIS treasurer. She said the key is getting to those voters without children.
“Every votes counts,” Veevaert added. She noted a past Snoqualmie Valley issue failed by a single vote. In Enumclaw, an issue passed by a mere four votes.
“Please mail back those ballots,” Veevaert said.
The last day to return ballots is Election Day, April 26.
Go to visvote.org to visit the VIS website, or kingcounty.gov/depts/elections for voting information.