Mercer Island, an island community located at the southern end of Lake Washington and 10 minutes from Seattle, is joined to the city of Seattle by the Interstate 90 floating bridge and to the City of Bellevue by the east channel bridge. The City of Mercer Island serves primarily as a residential area for approximately 22,700 people, most of whom are employed in professional and managerial positions in Seattle and the surrounding areas.
The Island and neighboring communities provide a wide variety of cultural and recreational activities for residents of all ages. From theater groups to indoor and outdoor art galleries to waterfront parks, there is something for everyone. More than 475 acres of parks and open space provide ample opportunities for sports, hiking, nature walks, picnics, and playgrounds for children. The Cascade Mountains offer some of the finest snow skiing in the region, and Lake Washington and the Puget Sound are ideal for boating and water sports.
The Mercer Island School District, with a K-12 student population of approximately 4,200, enjoys a wide-spread reputation for quality and excellence, combining academics, cultural expression, and athletic achievement. This tradition of excellence is a major reason many families make Mercer Island their home. Achievement test scores at the elementary, middle, and high school levels are consistently the highest in the state. The district maintains a graduation rate of over 95 percent. With its proximity to Seattle and Bellevue, the Island has easy access to several public and private colleges and universities including the University of Washington, Seattle University, Bellevue College, and Lake Washington Technical College.
The district employs a teaching and support staff of 495 and has an annual operating budget of approximately $48.5 million. In the 2010-11 school year, the Mercer Island Schools Foundation in partnership with the schools’ PTA’s contributed over $1.7 million dollars to maintain teaching positions and instructional support in light of statewide reductions in funding. Quality educators and support personnel are complemented by quality school facilities. The district has one 9-12 high school and an alternative high school program, one 6-8 middle school, and three K-5 elementary schools.
The district benefits from the substantial contributions of parents and community. The Mercer Island Schools Foundation, established in 1981, has raised over $25 million for district programs. The PTA’s at each of the five schools have high membership rates and contribute generously to the support of school programs through fundraising and extraordinary volunteer participation. The community demonstrates continued strong support for its schools— Mercer Island School District has always passed its levies.