Sunday, April 15, 2018

V 2.0 - High LW School District Salaries Burden Our Community

Image result for opinion imagesLake Washington District Central  Administration leadership as indicated by salaries is nonadaptive; the end result our students suffer from miss-use of  public funds. 

The new LWSD Communications and Community Engagement Director of less then one year is paid a flat $169.285 per year  This is outrageous.  The Mayor of Redmond is paid less than $138,000.

On the district's Central Leadership Team Organizational Chart I counted 16 Directors each earning $169,285 on a flat scale.  I counted 9 Associate Directors with salaries of $153,330. All salaries are flat without a low-midpoint-high range.  The administrator salaries should be on a sliding scale based on performance and experience. Keep in mind, school business slows or ceases in many departments when school is out ... for example "Communications and Community Engagement."

Another benchmark:  Redmond's Deputy Administrator, Chief of Police and Chief of Fire are paid the upper range of $165,372 per year with a bonus. Both governments have similar budgets of approximately $300,000,000.

Not all Directors are over-paid. Dr. Jon Holmen, the district's Deputy Superintendent oversees five Directors who should be elevated to "Executive Director."  In my opinion, these Directors are almost sacred. They bridge the schools and Central Administration and oversee all the principals. (According to School Board Director Cassandra Sage they are required to be in the schools 2.5 days per week.)

Director Matt Gillingham runs "Student and School Support Services and also deserves "Executive Director status.  Mr. Gillingham is responsible for student safety, social-emotional well-being, mental health recovery, and bullying issues and also oversees the athletic department. I first met him during Truancy Board training.  He and Associate Superintendent Barbara Poshumous gave an impressive presentation to city council about the Old Redmond Schoolhouse community center transition.

The district has too many overpaid chiefs and not enough indians.  Our new superintendent will be the CEO of the third largest school district in the State and should be very well paid to attract the best. The time is ripe for a new leader.  A good superintendent will know the capabilities of his/her workers, their roles, and rank to pay them accordingly.

The School Board of Directors has an excellent opportunity to right the ship and bring efficiencies and innovation to the organization.  Selecting a superintendent is the most important and significant duty our school board has.  Opportunities for parents and the community to actively participate in the selection process are a necessity.

B. Yoder

Sources:  December 14th, 2018 School Board meeting packet / public record request
                City of Redmond public record request
                Redmond City Television, Comcast 21
                Barbara Posthumous, Assoc. Superintendent

LWSD Offers Parent Information Sessions on Sexual Health Curriculum

Lake Washington School District Offers Parent Information/Input Sessions on Sexual Health Curriculum

Redmond, Wash. – Lake Washington School District (LWSD) will offer two parent information and input sessions where community members will be able to view the proposed materials being considered for sexual health education, and give input.
Information nights will be held:

  • Monday, April 23 from 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. in the Board Room at the Resource Center (16250 NE 74th St, Redmond 98052)
  • Thursday, May 3 from 7:00 – 8:00 p.m. in the Board Room at the Resource Center (16250 NE 74th St, Redmond 98052)

Friday, April 13, 2018

Youth Bike Camps at Marymoor Park

When I learned about Pedalheads Bike Camps at the Redmond Town Center Extravagance festival I was blown away.  Twenty years ago when my daughter Lexie was learning how to ride we struggled teaching her, she fell a lot, became anxious about the sport and never tried it again. Had a bike camp existed we would have immediately put her into it.

I rode the PIM ebike to Extravaganza and chatted with
Pedalheads at their booth
Even though Redmond is known as "The Bicycle Capital of the Northwest" it's hard to believe the city's  never offered a bike camp.  We have lacrosse camps, softball classes, flag-football clubs, soccer camps, swim classes, basketball camps, baseball clubs, a variety of community center classes but nothing for parents wanting to teach their kids how to ride safely and securely.

I called Pedalheads to learn about their Marymoor Park classes.  The popular Level One class, June 26-29 is already filled.  They have a special, July 2-6 for $188.00.  July 9-August 27 half day classes cost $235/week and are still open. To register call 1-888-886-6464 or visit their website.

B. Yoder

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Mountains to Sound Greenway

Image result for Mountains to Sound greenway imagesDunn to Congress: Support Mountains to Sound Greenway

Congressman Dave Reichert and former U.S. Senator Slade Gorton testified today before the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Federal Lands in support of HR 1791, the Mountains to Sound Greenway National Heritage Act.

The legislation, authored and championed by Congressman Dave Reichert, concerns a 1.5 million acre landscape that stretches from Seattle to Central Washington.

Currently in Washington, DC, King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn also submitted testimony in support of the legislation. Dunn has been an active participant in the effort since playing a vital role in the county’s acquisition of 226 acres of high-quality forest that was once partially slated for logging in 2014. The move preserved Squak Mountain Forest in the Issaquah Alps.

King County has played a major role in the creation of the Greenway, having invested millions of dollars in land acquisition and recreational development over the past 20 years. Purchasing the land prevented areas from being logged, and instead safeguarded salmon-bearing streams and other wildlife, as well as deep forests, hiking trails, and more.

School Board Describes First Steps in Selecting New Superintendent

Redmond, Wash. - Lake Washington School District’s (LWSD’s) Board of Directors will be initiating a national, open search for LWSD’s next superintendent with the support of a consulting firm experienced in identifying and recruiting leaders for high-performing school districts like LWSD. The same process and search firm will be used for considering internal and external applicants.

“The Board has already started researching options and is working to determine the next steps in identifying Lake Washington School District’s new superintendent,” said LWSD Board President Siri Bliesner.

Recognizing the importance to students, parents, staff and communities as well as the future of the district in selecting a new superintendent, the Board will seek input from the community throughout the process. The Board will develop a search timeline and provide opportunities for community involvement and input via forums and an online survey.

UPDATED: Superintendent Pierce steps down to a Directorship role

Traci Pierce, PhD
Superintendent Dr. Traci Pierce announced today she will be stepping down from her 6-year role of superintendent and into a different role within the organization. She will will take on the position as Director, College and Career Readiness.

Pierce was named superintendent in 2012.  During her tenure LWSD enrollment grew to 29,500 students.  Pierce led the district through a successful transition to K-5 elementary, 6-8 middle school, and four-year high school system.  The graduation rate climbed to an all-time high of 93%, the highest among all large districts in the sate.

She oversaw development of a long-term facility strategy and funding plan, resulting in passage of levies in 2014 and 2018 and a bond in 2016.  As a result, eight school construction projects are underway.  The district's bond credit rating was upgraded to Moody's "Aaa" rating.

Pierce joined the District in 1994, and has served as a teacher, principal, director, associate superintendent, deputy superintendent, and superintendent.  She received her doctorate at Bellevue College.

Dr. Pierce serves on the Sammamish Family YMCA Board, the Kirkland Performance Center Board, and the One Redmond Board. She was recently invited to participate in the "Influential Women of Washington State" series sponsored by Bellevue College.

The change in leadership will take effect July 1st, 2018 -- ten weeks -- barely enough time for a nation-wide search, public engagement and a decision. The Lake Washington Board of Directors is beginning the process to identify a new superintendent and will notify the community of their progress. 

B. Yoder, opinion

UPDATE & OPINION: City of Redmond City Council passes historic "Council Committee" legislation

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Looks like 1913 was the first adoption [of standing committees] through Ordinance No. 4.   The next amendment, according to the legislative history, occurred in 1974.   From my read on these two documents alone, many rules, procedures, and most likely, applicable laws, have changed.   
I hope this helps.

Michelle M. Hart, MMC
City Clerk|City of Redmond

MS: 3NFN|15670 NE 85th St.|Redmond, WA 98052
-- March 28, CC Hank Myers

Council Passes Historic Legislation 5-2 (Fields & Anderson) to create Council Committee of the Whole and Edit Rules and Procedures.  

March 27, 2018, 7:00 pm, City Hall, Special Council Meeting:


Redmond City Council Special Meeting Amending RMC 2.08, 2.32, and the Council Rules of Procedure to Codify Committee of the Whole

1. ORDINANCE NO. 2917: An Ordinance Amending RMC 2.08, Council Meetings, and RMC 2.32, Standing Committees of the Council, to Modify the Council Committee Structure from Standing Committees to Committee of the Whole; to Clarify the Definitions of Meeting Types; and to Update Outdated Code Where Necessary  -- Agenda published 3/20/2018


Minutes, March 27, 2018.  


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UPDATED: City of Redmond Appoints Interim Planning Director

Redmond, WA – Redmond Mayor John Marchione has announced the appointment of Erika Vandenbrande as the interim Planning Director, due to Karen Anderson’s resignation in late March.

Erica Vandendbrand
Vandenbrande started with the City of Redmond in 2001 and currently serves as the Deputy City Administrator. She will continue operating in both positions until a new Planning Director is hired. Vandenbrande has held various management positions in her seventeen years with the city including Transportation Demand Management Manager and Economic Development Manager. Before joining the City of Redmond, Vandenbrande held planning roles at the US Environmental Protection Agency and South Coast Air Quality Management District. She was also a manager at Southern California Association of Governments where she was responsible for developing the local government portion of the regional Air Quality Management Plan.

Erica's extensive knowledge and understanding of city planning projects in addition to her passion for the Redmond community make her an ideal fit for the interim Planning Director, stated Mayor John Marchione.  We re in the process of conducting a national search.
Vandenbrande is a graduate of the University of Rochester with a Master of Public Policy Analysis and a Bachelor degree in Geology.
It is interesting to note the Mayor appointed Parks and Human Services Director Maxine Whattam as interim Planning and Public Works Director due to Linda DeBolt's apparent resignation in February. Ms. Whattan now has a duel role.  Mr. White is running the Public Works operations. (Over the years he's presented to council on Redmond water.) The Redmond Natural Resource Manager oversees 30 employees many of them involved with the management of the city aquifer, including Redmond's geologist.  In my opinion, the Planning and Development Director (Karen Anderson) and Planning and Public Works shake up might be attributed to development problems associated with the aquifer. 

B. Yoder                                                 

Friday, April 6, 2018

Flowering Trillium in Idylwood Beach Park

 White flowering Trillium have emerged at Idylwood Beach Park!  Many are growing all along the south bank of the creek!  Trillium are very fragile and a protected species so please don't touch.  I kind of think of them as wild Easter Lilies.  
 B. Yoder / photo

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

UPDATED: City Council reviews regional aquatic pool partnerships

No. 2 of Series:  Council Meeting Of The Whole

During the Special Meeting, as seen this video, President Birney clarified that King County is contributing  $2M to towards a regional aquatics center in north east King County. Council Vice President  Carson mentioned he had talked with council members in Kirkland and Bellevue about a partnership with positive results.   Council member Margeson was "very pleased to see Bellevue, Kirkland, and Redmond are working together despite initial reluctance from one of the communities" (probably Kirkland.) President Birney was thrilled.

The Park's & Human Services "Council Committee Of The Whole" was canceled by President Birney owing to inadequate agenda noticing.  The meeting devolved to a "Special Meeting of a Parks and Human Services standing committee."  In this video, Parks & Culture Manager Carloyn Hope is presenting to council.  Council had minimal conversation amongst themselves; it was mostly informational.

Five Council members were present:  Chair Hank Myers (sweater), member David Carson (short sleaves,) member Jeralee Anderson (white jacket,) President Angela Birney (left of HM,) Hank Margeson (tie.)

High level staff were present:  Parks Director, Dep. Parks Director, new Planning Director, Parks & Culture Manager, Parks Operations Manager.

After multiple "Where As" statements the Mayor summarized his draft statement [in part]:

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

UPDATED: Cottonwood Controversy at Idylwood Park

Resident posts eagle notices
on city notice board
Thirty Cottonwood trees are scheduled for removal from Idylwood "Regional" Park sometime early this Spring.  The trees are prime perching and foraging habitat for park eagles and are highly valued.

I learned about the city's plans from a Letter to the Editor in the Redmond Reporter.  The city didn't hold a neighborhood meeting despite this being a regional park. Public notice was limited to two sandwich boards in the park and a blurb on the city website. Not good!

I called a phone number on the sandwich board. (The sign announced 30 Cottonwoods would be removed!)  David Tuchek, the Parks Operations Manager (and Parks "risk manager") kindly arranged a park tour.

David Tuchek in front of tree #10
 near Idlylwood Creek bridge
Mr. Tuchek was a city arborist at one time; and during the tour we discussed the following:

1)  The Bald Eagles spend most of their time in the Douglas Firs on the park's west side; there are no inhabited nests in the firs and no nests in the Cottonwoods. 2) Last year a serious summer drought caused the Cottonwoods to suck water into their branches, making them heavy and prone to falling. 3) Dave showed me a color picture of a large branch that fell on a park picnic table cracking it in half and landing on condo property. He noted two weeks later, a limb hit a park-goer sending her to Harborview. 5) Dave explained the 30 trees planned for removal were "target trees" that could hit people. 6) He pointed out the tape surrounding the Cottonwoods, saying falling limbs can "cartwheel" about 30 feet from the tree, 7) A mix of 60 conifer / deciduous replacement trees will be planted.  I recommended deciduous trees on the north side to provide shade from the southern sun. 8) Landmark Cottonwood #10 was growing in two riparian zones (river & lake) through which Kokanee salmon pass.  I noted how the tree was holding the bank. Dave indicated he would save as much of this target tree as possible. Besides mitigating erosion of the creek bank, the Cottonwood cools the water for salmon, and provides perching habitat.  9) The southern forested wetland will be enhanced and restored with replacement trees and shrubs.  The wetland will be fenced off and it's possible part of a Cottonwood can be saved for perching and bio-mass.

It was so kind of Dave to take me on this tour.  A few days later KING 5 reported on the city's plans, residents hired a lawyer requesting "cease and desist," (Read More,) and over 60 showed up at the Council's Audubon annual "Neighborhood Conversations" meeting - most of them emphatically objecting to the project. The final decision will be made by a Hearing Examiner. Yesterday, I took a video for posterity.

B. Yoder

Lake Washington School District Budget earns Meritorious Budget Award

Image result for budget imagesAward reflects district’s strategic goal of being fiscally responsible

Redmond, Wash. – Lake Washington School District’s (LWSD’s) 2017-18 Budget has earned the Association of School Business Officials International (ASBO) Meritorious Budget Award (MBA). This award promotes and recognizes excellence in budget presentation in school districts.
Last year, LWSD received the Pathway to the Meritorious Budget Award for the 2016-17 budget. The Pathway was the first step towards earning the full Meritorious Budget Award.
“We’re accountable to the community for responsible use of funding,” said Dr. Traci Pierce, Superintendent. “We’re proud to be recognized for our efforts to be transparent in our financial reporting. Our budget staff works hard to prepare easy-to-read and understand budget reports for our community, and I appreciate all of their efforts.”

Monday, April 2, 2018

EvergreenHealth CEO, Robert Malte, Announces Retirement Plans

Robert "Bob" Malte CEO
Kirkland, Wash. – Robert “Bob” Malte today announced he plans to retire from his position as Chief Executive Officer of EvergreenHealth, by the end of 2018, after nearly eight years in the role and a 42-year career in health care leadership.

“Bob has been at the helm of our system during a period of immense growth and change,” said Al DeYoung, chairman, EvergreenHealth Board of Commissioners. “We are grateful for his exceptional leadership, commitment to our organization, and dedication to advancing the health and well-being of this community, alongside our over 5,000 employees, providers and volunteers.”

In a message to staff today, Malte shared: “This was a difficult decision and one that I have been contemplating for a while. I love EvergreenHealth, my work, the people, and all that we have accomplished together. I know I will miss my work here and all of you who make EvergreenHealth such an amazing organization – both to me and to our entire community.

“Yet, I am also ready to pursue aspirations not yet fulfilled in my life, and to pay it forward. These include teaching health administration at the graduate level, volunteering in the community, and most importantly, spending more time with my wife Susi and our family, here in the Northwest where we’ve made our home.”

During his tenure as CEO, EvergreenHealth has gained both regional and national recognition as one of the top health systems for its performance and commitment to quality, safety, service, and value. For nine of the past 10 years, Healthgrades recognized the hospital among the top 5 percent in the nation for clinical excellence, and for the past two years, it was rated among the top 2 percent. EvergreenHealth was also the first in the state to receive a five-star quality rating from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, among many other awards and achievements.

Under Malte’s leadership, EvergreenHealth also expanded substantially into a two-hospital system, with a 310-provider multispecialty medical group, 12 primary care locations and five urgent care locations, as well as becoming the largest home care and home hospice network in the Puget Sound region.

Council "Neighborhood Conversation" at Audubon Elementary

Paige Norman, founder of "Education Hill Neighborhood Association" (EdNHA,) videoed Council's "Neighborhood Conversation" at Audubon El last Tuesday.  Affordable housing, the Overlake build-out, Overlake transportation, lots of discussion about removal of the Idylwood Park Cottonwoods.and the eagles there.   

The mayor said 1700 housing units have been built today, 1300 are under construction and 800 are in the permit review process. Hopefully the public will be notified of the status of these permits so we can comment to the Design Review Board before project approval. There's not enough color or architecture in our downtown buildings. 

LETTER: Council "Committee Of The Whole" passes, improves job performance

No. 1 of Series:  Council Committee Of The Whole

At Council's March 27th Regular Meeting council passed Ordinance 2917 that changes their 4:30 pm Tuesday Council Standing Committee meetings of 3 councilmembers to "Council Of The Whole Committee" meetings of 7 councilmembers.  The vote was 7-2 (Fields, Anderson.)  

The creation of Council Committee Of The Whole (CCOW ) last week has historical significance because Council's "old" Standing Committees were first installed by Council in 1913 under Ordinance No. 4. (Ref. Michelle Hart, city clerk.)  CCOW meetings will significantly open the workings city government to the people as well as empower Council's decision-making process on legislation and policy-making.   

Owing to the significance of CCOW meetings I will be reporting on them on a regular Series format. Their first meeting is scheduled for this Tuesday, April 3 at 4:30 in City Hall.  Details are in the Agenda here.  

B. Yoder  
READ MORE for Mr. Myers letter about the CCOW

Thursday, March 29, 2018

UPDATED: "Try Something New" at Redmond Town Center

"Try something new" at RTC.  Come to the Extravaganza festival at Redmond Town Center this Saturday at Noon! Lots of fun things to do:  face painting, petting zoo, scavenger hunt, balloon twisters, trampolines, bounce house, basketball and lots of food.

I'll be there too with this PIM electric bike in the afternoon for show and tell. I may may sign up some some interested people for a test drive!  They're easy to ride   Look for me by the Archer Hotel near the Sammamish Trail.  Ebikes are recreational and also great for sweat-free commuting and avoiding all that nasty traffic.

PIM isn't the only ebike company in town.  Seattle Electric Bike in Bothell has a wide range of ebikes.  Shelly Bowman sells their bikes.  She's an amazing community volunteer and knows everything local and regional when it comes to bikes.  Shelly's a City of Redmond Parks commissioner, she's on the city "PED/BIKE" advisory committee, she's V.P. of WheelLab, a youth bike program, and is a "Community Servant Leader" in Bothell.

Try Something New, Try Electric Bikes!

B. Yoder

Construction Continues on Eight Projects Funded by the 2016 Bond

LWSD is Building on Success
Although the February 2018 bond did not pass, construction continues for the eight projects funded by the April 2016 bond. Below are the updates on all of our projects.

Updates on projects
Clara Barton Elementary School - New Elementary School (North Redmond)
Progress is being made on the New Elementary School in North Redmond. The project is now into its eighth month of construction. Everything is “under roof,” meaning that the roof is now on and the interior is protected from the weather. Drywall work is progressing inside the building. Windows are being installed. Much of the construction focus has shifted to the interior of the building as electrical, plumbing and mechanical components are assembled and anchored to the structure. Many of the mechanical systems for heating and ventilation have already been installed. While weather has been an issue (there has been over 36” of rain at the site since September), the project is on schedule.

The school has chosen its name. Art the March 5 School Board Meeting, the Board unanimously approved the name Clara Barton Elementary SchoolRead more about the school name and process used to select the name.

Clara Barton is best known for her humanitarian work. However, she began as a female teacher that fought for women to have equal rights to men in the workplace. She then joined the Civil War effort to provide care to soldiers through organizing methods of getting desperately needed supplies to soldiers on the front lines. She traveled from battle to battle, becoming known as the “Angel of the Battlefield.” In 1869, she went to Switzerland, where she worked to get the U.S. Congress to agree to the Geneva Convention. This agreement resulted in the formation of the Red Cross, and it asked nations to agree to protect medical personnel on the battlefield. The resulting American Red Cross provides relief for victims of epidemics and natural disasters. Her work helping people in times of war and times of peace made her an eternal symbol of humanitarianism.
Clara Barton Elementary will focus on developing social-emotional and leadership skills in children through a school-wide approach to providing instruction and growth of the inter-disciplinary skills and attributes of the LWSD Student Profile. Barton Elementary will incorporate a service-learning project at each grade level to apply these skills in a project that serves our local or global community.
Aerial photo by Tim Rice Photography.

Ella Baker Elementary School - New Elementary School (Redmond Ridge East)
Progress is also being made on the New Elementary School in Redmond Ridge East. The project is in its eighth month of construction. The project has completed all underground infrastructure as well as the structural support of the building. Everything is “under roof” at that site, meaning that the new roof is now on and the interior is protected from the weather. Construction crews are working to make the building more weather-proof and exterior walls are still being placed. This project is also on schedule.

The school has chosen its name. Art the March 5 School Board Meeting, the Board unanimously approved the name Ella Baker Elementary SchoolRead more about the school name and process used to select the name.

Ella Baker was a hero of the Civil Rights Freedom Movement who inspired and guided emerging leaders such as Rosa Parks. She played a key role in some of the most influential organizations of all time, including the NAACP, Martin Luther King's Southern Christian Leadership Conference and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. She believed in grassroots movement and she believed change happened by unlocking the power of every person. Her influence was reflected in her nickname "Fundi," a Swahili word meaning a person who teaches a craft to the next generation. She reached out to the young to help them find their voices and become their own advocates. She was a well-respected and influential leader in the fight for human and civil rights. She is ranked as one of the most important African-American leaders and perhaps the most influential woman in the Civil Rights Movement. She dedicated her life to service, which is a cornerstone of our school; allowing students to see a need in our society and empowering them to make a difference.

Ella Baker Elementary will be an inclusive and nurturing environment that will develop students as global citizens through service-learning. Social-emotional learning, integrated with content knowledge, will encourage creative and critical problem solvers. Students at Baker Elementary will develop their character; empathy, grit, self-control, integrity, optimism and gratitude. They will learn to embrace diversity through enriching and integrated curriculum. Through service-learning projects and leadership opportunities, students will learn about themselves and how they can impact their school, their community and their world.
Aerial photo by Tim Rice Photography.

New Middle School - Redmond Ridge
The New Middle School in Redmond Ridge project is also underway. Some exterior and interior structural walls have started being built. Steel construction of framework is complete. The last steel beam was placed at the site onDecember 28You can watch the topping out video on YouTube.