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Issaquah, Washington
October 21, 2009     The Issaquah Press
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October 21, 2009

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THE ISSAQUAH PRESS WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 21, 2009 A3 Two candidates are vying for the Issaquah Schools Director District No. 2 on the Nov. 3 ballot. The can- didates discuss their positions on various local issues, limiting their answers to 25 words or less. What is the No. 1 issue facing the Issaquah School District that your leadership can impact What decision has the school board made in the past two years that you would change? If you could make a change to the 2010 levy request, what would it bet How will you increase communication between the school board and the communityt What ideas do you have to help the district plan for further cost reductionst How involved with lobbying the state for additional education resources should board members be? What new ideas do you have to help secure funding for education in IssaquaM How would you improve commtmica- lion between residents and school board members? What db you expect to be the biggest concern in teacher contract negotiations next year What should the role of the public be in helping choose curriculum materials? How do you feel about No Child Left Behind and why? How can the school board help dose the district's achievement gap? The district will have new school bound- aries in fall 2010. What can board members do to ease this transition? How do you feel about the district hvotved m education knvsmts agmst the stat Sho d we be inverted more than one What is your single, largest vohmteer contribution to district schools? DIRECTOR DISTRICT NO. 2 Marnie Maraldo , The district will face signifi- cant budget challenges. My experience is to utilize inno- vative tools to streamline processes and reduce costs. Last year, the district cut edu- cational assistants. These staff members greatly assist with our district's struggling students and are critical to reduce the achievement gap. Release the state's stranglehold limiting the amount of our levy request, the fundamental reason Issaquah is 271 out of 295 districts in per-pupil spending. I would propose a series of Town Hall meetings to communicate what future items are coming before the board and discuss recent decisions made. Cbordinate volunteer efforts with the cities within the district to meet some basic needs of our schools, such as traffic guards or landscape maintenance. The board is the voice of its citizens and should remind the state that its paramount duty is to the education of our children. Secure funding from the "Race to the Top Fund" initiative, citing access to online classes available to our students and the 2009 Education Reform legislation. I'd set up a community forum on the district Web page where citizens can voice thoughts and questions regarding what's going on within the district. Classroom size will probably be an issue. As the state deals with additional budget shortfalls, less money will he sent into the district. The public should hold the district accountable for selecting curriculum that has been proven to show it will best serve our student's educational needs. It was intended to ensure that failing schools succeed, but highly successful schools now fail if they cannot increase their already high Scores. Increase educational assis- tants throughout all of the schools to address individual struggling students. These students benefit greatly when focused attention can be given to them. The opportunity for frequent communication between the board and the citizens within the district is critical. Transparency will reduce the spread of rumors and inferences. Education advocacy groups should be the entities to bring many of these lawsuits against the state. The district should serve to supply data and facts. Last year, as Newcastle Elementary PTSA's legislative rep- resentative, I advocated for educa- tion reform for all kids in all the districts in the state. Wdght Noel The district's biggest challenge is maintaining a high-quality school district in the current economic situation, particularly with the current unequal levy funding challenges. While setting admirable end statements, the board has not established a way to measure or set goals to improve in those areas. The district has put forth sufficient reasons to justify the levy. It is vital that the levy be approved for educational excellence in the district. I will host regular community meetings on relevant topics, and encourage the district to continue to use technology to enhance community communication. The district will need to look outside the box, including technology solutions, such as online learning options, and further enhance its use of community talents. Advocacy is part of every member's responsibility and the board should expect the state to properly fund education. As the state's economic picture worsens, we must look for ~ew and more efficient ways to use our education dollars and our community's talents. I will continue to be an active part of the Issaquah community through my business, church involvement, the chamber of commerce and other community organizations. Salary and management policies are tough issues, but can be resolved by working together toward common goals to ensure our children's education. The public should have early notice and an opportunity to comment on curriculum changes. Where appropriate, community expertise should be used. NCLB is full of good ideas, but it is a very blunt instru- ment and one that is not applicable or beneficial to our district. Achievement gaps are a concern, and the board must monitor them and expect the administration to address and correct them. The new feeder patterns will enhance education. The district will need to communicate the changes early and allow parents to prepare for the changes. When the Legislature or the state fails to follow the constitution and the law, lawsuits are appropriate depending on the ability to fund them/it. In the past 10 years, I have spent thousands of hours helping students by coaching, counseling, assisting in classrooms and being a listening ear. By J.B. Wogan Sammamish city sources, ners -- is based on an insurance and Warren Kagarise including the city manager, mayor philosophy approach. Issaquah Press reporters and another two councilmen, also The total property value of a said the city does not plan to close partner s area correlates with its If Sammamish leaves Eastside Fire Station 81. level of service and, therefore, its Fire & Rescue -- a decision under "We've never discussed closing cost of service. discussion by city officials -- a station in Sammamish," If properties are worth more, Issaquah taxpayers could pay more Sammamish Mayor Don Gerend they have more fire stations and to support the regional fire agency, said. should receive faster responses Sammamish City Manager Ben The cost of fire protection has from firefighters. In practical Yazici said he had discussions with represented the highest cost terms, it also translates into a Deputy Fire Chief Jeff Griffin about increase to Sammamish in recent model where denser, more urban Sammamish leaving EFR. Yazici years -- something Deputy Mayor said he and Grifl talked about the Jack Barry and Councilman Lee logistics of how fire coverage would be redistributed if Sammamish broke kern the agency. But Yazici said the discussion was exploratory in nature, and not indicative of a definitive plan to leave EFR. "It's a piece of information that I need to have in order to do a log- ical analysis," Yazici said. Issaquah Councilman David Kappler, a member of the EFR Fellinge, both EFR board mem- bers, have sought to curb. Sammamish has contributed about $36.9 million to EFR since the city joined.the agency in 2001. The contribution went up by $355,746 between 2007 and 2008, and by $336,387 between 2008 and 2009. The cost of fire service has increased by about 6 percent each year in the past three years. EFR staff members have said board of directors, said they are working to ensure that Sammamish officials considered any increase this year will be the move because of the way lower. members pay for EFR. At the same time, the revenue "Sammamish definitely doesn't stream for Sammamish has dried want to be in a regional fire deal, up, except for property tax rev- because of the assessed valua- enues -- the bulk of the city's tions," Kappler said. funding-- that cannot grow at the Besides Issaquah andsame rate as EFR costs. Sammamish, EFR provides fireSammamish Finance and emergency services to North Department officials projected a Bend and two fire districts in point in the next six years when unincorporated King County. .city spending would outstrip fund- EFR Board Chairman Run mg, unless something changes. A Pedee said the departure of spending change could be some- Sammamish would likely increase thing completely unrelated to fire the financial burden on the remaining partners. Kappler agreed, and said own- ers of businesses and houses with higher assessed values would feel the greatest effects of the move. "For most homeowners, it probably won t have much impact, he said. protection -- such as halting major construction projects -- that the city already has plans to do. Despite the daunting future costs of fire service, Barry said he does not support a break from EFR. Barry also referenced the 2006 financial study -- which showed that the city saved money by part- The terms of the agreementnering with the fire agency. governing EFR could make it Fellinge said he considered a tough for Sammamish officials to departure f om EFR a real option, withdraw before Dec. 31, 2014. but not the only one. He said he But the agreement may contain provisions to allow the city to leave sooner. Yazici commissioned the FCS Group, a Redmond consultant, to update a 2006 financial study of fire costs associated with EFR. The city will pay about $5,000 for the update, he said. was looking for a way to maintdin the city's existing level of fire pro- tection service without allowing cost increases. He said he is not envisioning closing fire stations or cutting back on firefighters. The existing funding model for the agency -- approved by Sammamish and the other part- areas receive better and more expensive fire protection than less dense, more rural ones. Barry has said he suspects a different funding model would be less expensive for Sammamish, because the city's newer develop- ments would have fewer fires and less serious fires, thus driving down the cost of service. Yazici said FCS might look at how Sammamish could partner with other agencies for fire pro- tection, in addition to having a city-owned fire agency. Kappler, however, said he imag- ines Sammamish officials would contract with EFR to provide fire protection even if the city left the agency. Because the agency sur- rounds Sammamish to the east and the south, Sammamish offi- cials could find contracting with EFR to be a less expensive option, Kappler said. No matter what the consultant finds, the Sammamish City Council would make the ultimate decision regarding what to do about fire protection, Yazici said. "This is not personal," he said. "It's not about me. It's not about EFR. It's about trying to provide the best service at the lowest cost." Correction In a Sept. 29 article featur- ing school board candidate profiles, Marnie Maraldo was misquoted regarding levy equalization. "I know about our oals for all of our students, now we have been underfunded for a long time and how we are financed by levies and need levy equalization reform," she said. || I know you want the best dental care for you and your family and that quaEty and guarantee is something that should not have to change. 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