Jan 172014
 

by MATT BOTT, Issaquah Reporter Columnist
Jan 17, 2014 at 4:00AM

Let me start this column by urging your support for the upcoming Issaquah School District levies. On behalf of the local and regional business community, the Issaquah Chamber of Commerce is proud to offer its full endorsement and complete support for the three school levies on the ballot this February.

The Issaquah School District continues to be among the highest performing in the state and there is little doubt that local investment in local education is among the best way a community can support its youth and local economy. Strong schools mean healthy families, bright futures and a strong local economy. Let’s keep this going for Issaquah’s students and our community. Vote yes on the Issaquah school levies.

Now, let me turn to some observations about the future of business and education.

Across the nation, we are seeing relatively unprecedented engagement with, and partnership between, the business and education communities. The winning communities of the future will have this partnership down to a “science.” Nobody knows this more than chambers of commerce.

Across the nation and the Evergreen State, chambers are engaging in a myriad of education/business partnerships. And they must. The talent level of a local workforce is probably the defining factor, next to a pro-business regulatory climate, in whether a business will invest jobs in a community or move on to greener pastures.

The gaps are clear. Internships. Workforce training. Youth un(and under)employment. Critical thinking skills. Academic rigor. Entrepreneurial training. Different communities will have different needs and different responses. In Issaquah, career-pathways is a big topic. In other communities, it is graduation rates. In some, it’s school performance.

Locally, our work mirrors this trend in business-education partnerships. This May, the chamber’s Education Committee, led by the talented Cornell Atwater of LearningRX, in collaboration with the school district, Schools Foundation and others, will hold our second Great Careers event. The program helps hundreds of local students identify meaningful career pathways that match their skills and ambitions. The hopeful outcomes: reducing the “decade drift,” career-path mismatch and youth unemployment.

Another area is internship programs. In Issaquah alone there are hundreds of businesses that could (and many do) provide real-world experience to local students as a part of their development. The notable work of Superior Seconds, a downtown locally-owned sporting goods store, which mentors middle and high school students and engages in community youth drug prevention efforts, is just one example. And regionally, the more we can attack the skills gap – particularly in science, technology, engineering and math – through dynamic, innovative business-education partnerships, the more successful we will be.

Meaningful business-education partnerships, be they in the form of workforce development, career readiness or entrepreneur training, is a welcome trend and valuable tool for community advancement. Vote “yes” on the levies in February, and join us in helping our kids succeed and our community thrive in months and years to follow.

Matthew Bott is the chief executive officer of the Greater Issaquah Chamber of Commerce. He writes on topics regarding the local/regional economy and community leadership.

Jan 142014
 

Issaquah Press – 01/14/2014

I am writing to encourage the residents of the Issaquah School District to vote yes on three school levies that will be on the Feb. 11 ballot.

We have three replacement levies that we as a school district will be voting on and we need to all vote yes.

Compared to our surrounding school districts, the Issaquah School District is at a financial disadvantage with the funding it receives. The Issaquah School District does an incredible job with the education it delivers to our students, even with this financial disadvantage.

The Maintenance and Operations levy alone provides 21 percent of the Issaquah School District’s operating budget. This money is crucial in continuing the high quality of education the district provides our children.

Please vote yes and encourage those around you to do the same!

Jody Mull

Bellevue

Jan 082014
 

Sammamish Review – 01/08/2014

As we enter a new year, Issaquah School District voters have a unique investment opportunity.

On Feb. 11, the entire community will have the opportunity to vote yes on a three-part Issaquah district school-funding ballot, comprised of the following items:

  • Four-year Maintenance and Operations Levy in the following amounts: $44.5 million in 2015, $48 million in 2016, $51.5 million in 2017, and $54 million in 2018.
  • One-year Transportation Levy in the amount of $1.7 million in 2015.
  • Four-year Critical Repairs/Technology levy in the following amounts: $11.4 million in 2015, $12.05 million in 2016, nearly $13.6 million in 2017, and nearly $14.9 million in 2018.

When you consider the social and economic impact of supporting our schools, there’s no better return on investment. These dollars directly help Issaquah students and the future members of our community. Our ability to help develop creative, intelligent and productive young adults offers such a contribution to the fabric of our community that, to borrow a phrase, it’s “priceless.”

At $40 per year in per-household increase in tax basis on average, we can contribute to a school district infrastructure and technology platform that is among the best in the state. As homeowners, this investment supports our community’s reputation as being one of the best places to live and raise children.

It’s no surprise we find signs in front of new housing developments, or homes being listed, touting “in the Issaquah School District.” Whether you’re a homeowner with school-aged children or not, the resulting contribution this investment makes to the value of your home or property is clear. It’s a great investment.

For me, it’s an easy choice and decision. Please vote yes for the upcoming Issaquah School District levies.

Marc Messina

Newcastle

Dec 312013
 

Issaquah Press – 12/31/13

As we enter a new year, Issaquah School District voters have a unique investment opportunity.

On Feb. 11, the entire community will have the opportunity to vote yes on a three-part Issaquah district school-funding ballot, comprised of the following items:

  • Four-year Maintenance and Operations Levy in the following amounts: $44.5 million in 2015, $48 million in 2016, $51.5 million in 2017, and $54 million in 2018.
  • One-year Transportation Levy in the amount of $1.7 million in 2015.
  • Four-year Critical Repairs/Technology levy in the following amounts: $11.4 million in 2015, $12.05 million in 2016, nearly $13.6 million in 2017, and nearly $14.9 million in 2018.

When you consider the social and economic impact of supporting our schools, there’s no better return on investment. These dollars directly help Issaquah students and the future members of our community. Our ability to help develop creative, intelligent and productive young adults offers such a contribution to the fabric of our community that, to borrow a phrase, it’s “priceless.”

At $40 per year in per-household increase in tax basis on average, we can contribute to a school district infrastructure and technology platform that is among the best in the state. As homeowners, this investment supports our community’s reputation as being one of the best places to live and raise children.

It’s no surprise we find signs in front of new housing developments, or homes being listed, touting “in the Issaquah School District.” Whether you’re a homeowner with school-aged children or not, the resulting contribution this investment makes to the value of your home or property is clear. It’s a great investment.

For me, it’s an easy choice and decision. Please vote yes for the upcoming Issaquah School District levies.

Marc Messina

Newcastle

Dec 172013
 

Issaquah Press – 12/17/13

After reading that Movoto Real Estate named the city of Issaquah the top city in Washington, I couldn’t help but think that our schools are a big part of what makes Issaquah attractive.

I’ve been with the Issaquah School District for 20 years, as a speech/language pathologist and currently as the Issaquah Education Association president. I’ve worked in nine schools and now have the opportunity to visit all 25 schools when meeting with my members. This has given me a pretty good idea of what makes a great school and a great district.

First, it’s the people: educators, administrators and all the support staff working together to make the best learning environment possible. Second, our community strongly supports our schools and school personnel. Third, our students learn in buildings that are safe, healthy and modernized. Fourth, educators and students have the technology, curriculum, materials and supplies necessary to meet the high standards of our district.

The primary reason behind all these necessary elements of a great school and a great district is that our community passes our bonds and levies.

ISD will continue to hire quality teachers and support staff, maintain reasonable class sizes and provide curriculum for all learners because of the Renewal M&O Levy. ISD will be able to buy new school buses because of the Renewal School Bus Levy. ISD will be able to purchase new and repair older technology and offer professional development and online learning opportunities because of the Renewal Capital Levy.

We are able to do all this — even as the state Legislature fails to fully fund public education — because our community shows its support for public education by passing our bonds and levies. Please do so again on Feb. 11. Vote “yes” three times!

Phyllis Runyon, president

Issaquah Education Association