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School Board Meeting Updates: August 27, 2021

Posted on August 27, 2021

The Issaquah School Board held a regular meeting Thursday, August 26 at the Issaquah School District Administration Building. The meeting was broadcast live on the ISD YouTube channel, and a recording of the meeting is available.

The following is a summary of the topics the Board and district staff discussed and action the Board took at the meeting. It is not an official record or meeting minutes. To review official minutes from all board meetings, please visit our board meeting archive webpage.

Work Study Review

Prior to the meeting, the Board conducted a work study with Sara Rigel, a Health Services Administrator at Public Health Seattle and King County. Rigel reiterated that our District FAQ’s for returning to school 2021-22 are in alignment with current guidelines. We encourage you to circle back and observe this work study on our YouTube. A major takeaway from the discussion was a deeper understanding of the layered mitigation that we will be implementing in the schools. The Board and the District are committed to following all the health guidance as it evolves with the intention of keeping our students and staff as safe as possible.

Update on Preparations for the Start of the 2021-22 School Year

Superintendent Ron Thiele gave the Board an update on preparations for beginning the 2021-22 school year. Thiele began by reminding the group that as a District we are committed to following and implementing all health guidelines as recommended by the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) and by Public Health Seattle and King County including but not limited to physical distancing, mask wearing, and asking those who are sick to stay home. He continued by encouraging our families and community at large to also follow layered COVID mitigation strategies as this impacts the number of cases and helps keep our schools open.

There are 3,000+ staff preparing for the new school year and for COVID mitigation. Please visit the district FAQ webpage where we are regularly updating content as guidance from our health partners evolves.

A few “hot topic” FAQ updates include:

  • COVID notification: if one student in an elementary class gets COVID-19, we will notify the entire class and let the family know if the student was a close contact.
  • Layered mitigation: utilizing multiple mitigation strategies together has shown to be the most effective way to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The layers we are utilizing as a District include vaccines, masks, physical distancing, improved ventilation, handwashing, cleaning and disinfecting, staying home when sick, testing, and contact tracing in combination with quarantining.
  • Back-up plans: while our efforts have been focused on the return to in-person learning, we do have back plans in place if we need to transition to remote learning. There is currently not a metric in place by the Department of Health but if they require us to transition there are different plans for closing a classroom, an entire school, or the entire system. These plans will be posted to our FAQ by Tuesday afternoon.

The Board and District staff discussed and responded to a number of community concerns raised during public input.

Safety and Security Update

Director of Safety and Security Dave Montalvo gave the Board an update on the safety and security in Issaquah School District. Our approach as a district focuses on prevention, preparation/training, and building security. Much of the work is funded by local levies and bonds. Current projects include bus paddle violation cameras to the entire bus fleet, installation of vape detectors at all high schools, emergency water at each building for staff/students, and many more.

Montalvo continued by sharing updates to House Bill 1214, which mandates guidelines regarding School Resource Officers (SRO’s) training and compliant policies. He also discussed the potential of transitioning from the current model that partners with the City of Issaquah, King County, and the City of Sammamish while also employing our own School Safety Officers (SSO’s). The new model the District is researching would remove SRO’s and add additional SSO’s in order to increase coverage at all middle schools while incurring less costs to the District. At this time the presentation is solely informational.

To learn more, visit our district safety webpage or listen to the entire presentation on YouTube.

2021-22 Budget Adoption Resolution 1168

During the August 12 board meeting a public hearing was held on the proposed 2021-22 fiscal budget. There have been no changes to the 2021-22 budget document since it was presented. The Board unanimously approved the budget, establishing appropriations for the 2021-22 school year. President Weaver shared that her biggest takeaway from the budget discussion is that the budget is a deficient budget, which cuts into the reserves of the District. If you’d like to further read and/or understand the budget here is our Guide to Understanding the 2021-22 Budget.

EL-5 Actual Financial Condition and Activities

Chief Financial Officer Jake Kuper presented the annual internal monitoring report for EL-5 Actual Financial Condition and Activities, sharing that the District is in compliance with no exceptions. He also shared that this marks our 19th consecutive clean audit! The board voted unanimously to approve the report as presented. To listen further, find the entire presentation on YouTube.

Capital Projects Update

Director of Capital Projects Tom Mullins presented an update on various active construction projects in the District.

  • Cedar Trails Elementary: Temporary Certificate of Occupancy was received today!
  • Cougar Mountain Middle School: Project is continuing to progress as lockers are installed, carpeting is in, and tiles are in our restrooms. As you are likely aware, students will be begin the year in a temporary location at Ringdall Jr. High School and transition to the new building upon completion.
  • Comprehensive High School #4: Breaking ground in spring of 2022, with a fall 2024 opening.

Mullins also shared a recap on a number of other projects such as Maple Hills Elementary, Beaver Lake Middle School, Issaquah High School Stadium, Liberty High School Stadium completion, and the Holly Street Campus Early Learning Center.

For more information on Issaquah School District construction projects, please refer to the Issaquah School District Capital Projects webpage.

Resolution 1169 Thanking the Bellevue School District for the use of Ringdall Jr. High School

The Bellevue School District has allowed the Issaquah School District to temporarily transform Ringdall Junior High School into Cougar Mountain Middle School. The Board took a moment to thank the Bellevue School Board and District and unanimously passed Resolution 1169.

Legislative Matters

In this standing opportunity, the Board discusses legislative activity pertinent to education. Dr. Director Harlan Gallinger shared that we need to schedule meetings with individuals from the 41st. We are one of twelve, of the two hundred ninety-five districts not made whole by way of ESSER funds. This limitation in our additional funding for COVID relief has limited our ability to serve our community in ways that they would have envisioned, and we would have preferred.


District Communications

As a friendly reminder, the Issaquah School District will send official District communication using only the channels listed below:

Other Facebook accounts or groups, websites, or media channels are not operated or endorsed by the District.

You can view recordings of this and other past board meetings on the ISD YouTube channel. You can also see future meetings on this channel or via Zoom. Check the District website for more information on attending meetings, giving public comments, or reading the minutes of past meetings.