Bond funds new middle school in Renton district

May 3, 2012

Voters pass school measure with 60.57 percent of the vote

Newcastle will be the home of a new Renton School District middle school after residents voted to fund the project as a part of a $97 million school bond that passed by 60.57 percent April 17.

More than 10,300 people voted in favor of the measure, which funds the school, improvements to the Lindbergh High School pool and other construction costs, while about 6,700 rejected it.

School district spokesman Randy Matheson said while the district has not yet begun laying out specifics of the school, it should open its doors by the 2016 school year.

The Renton School Board voted Feb. 29 to rerun the bond after its first run in the Feb. 14 special election originally came up two points shy — or about 300 votes — of the 60 percent needed to pass.

Of the $97 million requested by the district, $53.2 million will go toward building the new middle school in Newcastle and $5.5 million will go toward improvements of the Lindbergh High School swimming pool.

About $5 million will be used for the district’s land acquisition for future projects, $5.9 million will go for upgrading existing facilities, $8.8 million will go toward energy conservation district wide and $18.6 million will go toward building upgrades for existing structures.

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Renton School Board opts to rerun middle school building improvement bond

March 2, 2012

NEW — 11:50 a.m. March 1, 2012

The Renton School Board voted Feb. 29 to rerun a $97 million building improvement bond that would fund a new middle school in Newcastle, among other projects.

The bond, which originally came up two points shy of the 60 percent needed to pass in the Feb. 14 special election, will run again April 17.

Citizens for Renton Schools Chair John Galluzzo said a major setback to gathering enough support for the bond the first time was giving residents a clear picture of what the bond would mean to them financially.

The election was about 335 votes short of the ballots needed to approve the bond, he said.

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Renton School District voters defeat middle school bond

March 2, 2012

Operations, technology levies are supported

A Renton School District bond that would have provided funding for a new middle school in Newcastle came up 2 percent short of the votes needed to pass, but residents did support the district’s maintenance and operations and technology levies.

The Renton School Board  examined whether the district should run the bond again in an upcoming election this year, district spokesman Randy Matheson said.

It will be back on the ballot April 17.

“While there is great need for another middle school, board members are interested in hearing if there is consensus among parents and citizens about running the bond measure again so quickly, and if the community is willing to assist in the shortened campaign to communicate the measure,” he said.

The district’s building improvements bond required a 60 percent yes vote and a minimum turnout of 10,582 people. About 30 percent of registered voters cast their vote — or about 16,900 ballots — in the Feb. 14 election.

About 9,900 voters approved the bond, while about 7,160 rejected it.

The $97 million bond would have funded the new middle school at the former Hazelwood Elementary School site, now home to the Renton Academy.

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Middle school bond shy of necessary votes needed to pass

February 15, 2012

UPDATED — 5:30 p.m. Feb. 15, 2012

A Renton School District bond that would provide funding for a new middle school in Newcastle is about three points shy of the 60 percent needed to pass, according to King County’s special election results.

The $97 million bond would fund the new middle school at the former Hazelwood Elementary School site, now home to the Renton Academy.

The Renton Academy facility would be torn down and a new building would be built in its place. The facility could be a traditional middle school or a magnet school to focus on a specialized curriculum, such a math or science.

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Issaquah School District puts laid off teachers on recall list

June 3, 2011

With the approval of the state biennial budget, the Renton and Issaquah school districts are in a budget crunch.

Class sizes will not increase in the Issaquah district next year, and although the Renton district has not yet determined whether it will need to increase class sizes, officials said they hope not to.

Laying off teachers is also an option, but Renton district spokesman Randy Matheson said it is one district officials hope to avoid.

“Our intent is not to do either of those things,” Matheson said.

He said district officials will need to discuss the situation with its unionized employees. Alternatives to cutting pay could include reducing the money the district stows away in its emergency savings or leaving open positions unfilled.

“We’ve got some things to come to the table with, but we’ve got to have those discussions,” Matheson said.

The state Legislature approved the budget May 24.

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Renton Rotary honors student of the month

June 3, 2011

Sunishchal Dev, a senior at Hazen High School, has been named one of the Renton Rotary Club’s students of the month for May.

Sunishchal Dev

Sunishchal holds a 3.9 grade point average. He has been involved in Future Business Leaders of America (holding vice president and president positions), DECA and National Honor Society. He has been a member of Ignite, Highlander Club, Breakfast Club, Ping Pong Club, jazz band and tennis.

Sunishchal has received regional awards with the FBLA and a most improved award in jazz band.

He works part time as an instructor at the Washington Black Belt Academy and volunteers with Boy Scouts of America and the YMCA.

Sunishchal plans to attend the University of Washington to study business, and he would like to someday open his own martial arts academy.


Hazen on brink of overcoming sink-or-swim battle to save its pool

June 3, 2011

UPDATED — 5:55 p.m. June 6, 2011

Did someone say pool party?

Thanks to numerous donations and widespread fundraising, Hazen High School’s pool has nearly escaped closure for the 2011-2012 school year. The campaign came in the wake of school officials finding themselves without $60,000 needed to operate the pools at Hazen and Lindbergh high schools for the year.

As of Newcastle News’ May 31 deadline, fundraising had yielded more than $58,000 in contributions.

“Everyone is just delighted,” said Chris Carlson, Renton Pools Community organizer. “It’s such an important asset.”

Hazen’s public pool — built in 1969 — hosts swim lessons, the WhiteWater Aquatics swim team, the Shadow Seals swim team, the Issaquah Swim Team and the Bellevue Swim Club, as well as the swim teams from Hazen, Liberty and Renton high schools.

The funding crisis began in 2010, when King County transferred ownership of the Lindbergh pool to the Renton School District. Thus, the school district was tasked with maintaining the pool.

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New immunizations required for sixth-graders

April 15, 2011

NEW — 6 a.m. April 15, 2011

Students entering the sixth grade in fall 2011 have two new immunization requirements.

– Varicella: The school must have the date of vaccine or the date when the student had the disease, also known as chickenpox, on file.

– Tdap: The school must have the date of the vaccine, and proof the student was at least 11 years old when he or she received it.

Washington allows exemption from these vaccines for medical, personal or religious reasons. Notify the school nurse about these vaccines to ease the transition to middle school.

Bob Bridge donates to Hazen band program

March 4, 2011

Bob Bridge prepares to give a trumpet a try after presenting a $2,000 check for the Hazen High School band programs, one of four checks he plans to donate to Renton high schools. By Allison Int-Hout

The Hazen High School band program received $2,000 last month from Bob Bridge, a local businessman celebrated for his continuing support of the Renton School District. The donation was one of four Bridge said will total $8,000 and go to high school band programs in the district.

Bridge is the president of a Toyota dealership in Renton and said his life as a businessman was significantly influenced by his experiences in band and chorus during seventh through 12th grade.

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Meteorologists forecast snow for Newcastle in days ahead

February 22, 2011

UPDATED — 8:20 a.m. Feb. 22, 2011

Snow is on the way.

National Weather Service forecasters in Seattle issued a winter storm warning for Western Washington through 10 a.m. Thursday.

Meteorologists predicted 1 to 3 inches of snow accumulation in Newcastle during the daytime Wednesday. The chance of precipitation is 90 percent. The temperature is expected to reach 35 degrees.

The mercury is expected to drop to 28 degrees Wednesday night. Meteorologists predicted another 1 to 3 inches could accumulate overnight Wednesday in Newcastle and the surrounding area.

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