July 3, 2012
Liberty High School performers — and a scene-stealing, man-eating plant — snapped up more awards than any other high school drama program in a statewide competition June 4.
The school received four trophies for a recent production of “Little Shop of Horrors” in The 5th Avenue Theatre’s annual awards to recognize musical theater at high schools across the Evergreen State. The honor is akin to a Tony Award for student performers and productions.
“Little Shop of Horrors” garnered awards for Outstanding Music Direction for choir director Robin Wood, Outstanding Scenic Design, Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role and the top honor, Outstanding Overall Musical Production.
“We have a strong production team and strong talent,” said Katherine Klekas, longtime Liberty drama program director. “I think that was what made this one so special is that it was consistent across the board.”
The campy musical revolved around a carnivorous plant, Audrey II, a puppet comprised of limbs and vines crafted for the performance.
Jeremy Dodd earned the Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role honor for a turn as a floral shop proprietor.
The sophomore donned a bald cap and extensive makeup to transform from a teenager to the curmudgeonly Mr. Mushnik.
May 18, 2012
NEW — 1:20 p.m. May 18, 2012
The Issaquah School District is wasting no time when it comes to putting its recently-approved $219 million bond dollars into action.
The school board reviewed a preliminary schedule of projects and timeline for school construction and other district upgrades at its May 9 meeting. Some projects could begin as soon as July and others extend through the end of 2019.
“Somebody has to be first, and somebody has to be last,” said Jacob Kuper, chief operations officer for the district.
Phase 2 construction of Liberty High School and Phase 2 at Maywood Middle School are first in line with finishes projected by the end of 2013. At the caboose of the tentative timeline is the reconstruction of Sunny Hills Elementary School, which wouldn’t finish until December 2018.
Construction to improve Skyline High School’s stadium would begin April 2013 and run through September 2014. As a result, Skyline’s football team is likely to play away games for the entire 2013 season. Issaquah High School will have the same problem a few years later when its stadium remodel takes place from April 2016 to August 2017.
This summer, the district hopes to install artificial turf on the athletic fields at Beaver Lake and Maywood middle schools. It would then install turf fields at Pine Lake and Pacific Cascade middle schools the following summer.
“We didn’t want to take all the fields out over the course of the summer because it would be a huge impact on the community,” said Steve Crawford, director of capital projects for the district.
May 16, 2012
NEW — 11:30 a.m. May 16, 2012
Issaquah School District and Eastside Catholic High School officials sought to reassure parents and students May 11 after federal agents arrested a substitute bus driver for the Issaquah district and former Eastside Catholic teacher for possession of child pornography.
Andrew Bernard Rekdahl, 29, faces child pornography charges after federal prosecutors said the Carnation resident shared explicit images and videos of boys online from his home computer.
Department of Homeland Security agents arrested Rekdahl at a school district facility May 10 after a monthslong sting operation.
Federal prosecutors charged him with one count each of possession and distribution of child pornography. If convicted, he faces up to 40 years in prison.
Rekdahl served as a substitute bus driver for more than a dozen routes throughout the school district between Nov. 14 and May 10 and as a science teacher at Eastside Catholic in Sammamish from 2005 to June 2010.
May 11, 2012
UPDATED — 2:30 p.m. May 11, 2012
Federal agents arrested a substitute bus driver for the Issaquah School District for child pornography possession Thursday.
In the course of the investigation, security officials told district officials no evidence exists to believe any inappropriate or illegal activities occurred as the driver — identified as Carnation resident Andrew Bernard Rekdahl in court documents — worked for the district.
Parents are encouraged to email the district at DriverConcerns@issaquah.wednet.edu if they have concerns after speaking with their children. Rasmussen said in a statement that parents have been calling for details about specific routes the driver covered during his time with the district. A list of those routes should be available on the district website this afternoon.
Prosecutors charged charged Rekdahl with possession and distribution of child pornography.
“This is obviously a very serious charge, and our first priority is making sure that he acted as a professional at all times while driving for us,” Superintendent Steve Rasmussen said in a statement released early Friday afternoon.
Prosecutors said Rekdahl shared explicit images and videos of boys online.
In customary procedure, the Issaquah district cleared the substitute driver through mandatory state and federal background checks before he started driving in November. Both background checks accurately showed a clean record.
The district never received complaints or concerns about the driver during his short employment.
May 10, 2012
NEW — 3:20 p.m. May 10, 2012
As the next major step to align each of the three high schools schedules in the Issaquah School District, administrators encourage parents and students to become involved with the Liberty High School Schedule Committee that will be formed this month.
Applications are due to Kathy Schroeder in Liberty’s main office by May 18, and parents of Maywood Middle School and Liberty students are especially encouraged to apply.
The school will continue with the same eight-period schedule for the 2012-13 school year. Issaquah and Skyline high schools have a six-period daily schedule in place, while Liberty has eight.
May 3, 2012
Issaquah School District voters overwhelmingly approved a $219 million bond to fund construction and renovation projects on campuses across the district.
In the April 17 special election, 70 percent of voters — encompassing more than 15,000 yes votes of out more than 22,000 ballots cast — approved the measure. (The measure needed to receive a 60 percent yes vote from a minimum turnout of 12,229 voters.)
Despite the passage of the bond, local homeowners will pay less in property taxes to the schools than they do now because a previous bond issue is set to expire this year.
The retirement of the earlier bond will drop the local tax rate from $4.85 per $1,000 of assessed property value to $4.05. Passage of the new bond puts the rate at $4.42.
Compared to present rates, a homeowner with a home valued at $500,000, property taxes will drop by $215 annually, said Jake Kuper, district chief of finance and operations.
King County Elections is scheduled to certify the election results April 27.
May 3, 2012
NEW — 12:55 p.m. May 2, 2012
The Issaquah Schools Foundation is inviting the community to lunch.
The 14th annual Nourish Every Mind Benefit Luncheon begins at 11 a.m. May 10 with a program that aims to teach how community investment is elevating education for all Issaquah School District students.
Last year, the event raised a record $593,000. The foundation used that money to fund education projects in the district, including robotics clubs and the expansion of the Microsoft TEALS program to every high school. The money was also used to help purchase science curriculum materials for district classrooms.
April 18, 2012
UPDATED — 4:55 p.m. April 18, 2012
While a $219 million school bond on the April 17 ballot from the Issaquah School District is heavily favored by voters, a $97 million construction bond in the Renton School District is too close to call after the second day of election results.
The Issaquah bond is passing by 69 percent, and the Renton bond is just more than the supermajority needed to pass at 60.28 percent, according to King County’s special election results.
April 11, 2012
NEW — 5:30 p.m. April 11, 2012
A 30-member task force unanimously agreed to recommend that new school sitings in King County be done in urban areas and rural towns, not in areas designated as rural.
King County officials announced the decision April 11.
“These are thoughtful recommendations that will help deliver educational excellence for our children without sacrificing the environment of our rural areas,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine in a press release.
April 5, 2012
We wish the Issaquah School District had been more conservative in its request to fund the long list of items on the April 17 construction bond, but we get why it was not.
With another school bond ending its 20 years of tax collections, this is a good time to get a lot of catch-up work done on our school facilities, while still giving taxpayers a couple hundred dollars’ reduction in property taxes next year (an estimated $215 drop on a $500,000 assessed valuation home.)
Volunteers for Issaquah Schools, the group pushing a yes vote, say this is the biggest campaign it has ever mounted. It’s no wonder. With so many questions and a $219 million price tag, the proposed bond has raised a lot of eyebrows.
There are a lot of questions voters are asking, as we did. Do the middle schools really need artificial-turf fields? Does it really make sense to tear down Clark Elementary School? Does Tiger Mountain Community High School, population 80, really need to be relocated at a cost of $4 million? Isn’t $75,000 for clocks at Beaver Lake Middle School rather excessive? And so on.
First, recognize that the extensive repairs, remodels, permanent classroom additions for 500 students, rebuilds of the five oldest schools, stadium upgrades, safety and energy-saving additions is so extensive that it will take eight years to get it all done — although taxpayers will pay for the next 20 years.
Equality in school facilities will come closer to reality if these projects are completed. Consider that the slower economy makes it a great time to get the best construction bids.
For many voters, this bond request is a stretch. But just like the committee of volunteers who studied the issues and drafted the bond plan, we believe the facilities bond keeps Issaquah schools in tip-top shape and designed for changing educational needs.