IOWA CITY – An Iowa City school board committee on Monday will discuss the possibility of changing the board’s policy on reserving money for a new high school.
The Governance Committee, made up of four of the school board’s seven members, has on its agenda an item eliminating language in a policy that sets aside $32 million in special tax money for the construction of a new high school.
That policy was enacted after voters approved a school infrastructure local-option sales tax, or SILO, in 2007. Since then, the board has been saving $3.2 million annually for the construction of a new school.
Last week, however, five school board members – four of them elected last year – said they were interested in taking that money and spending it on new elementary schools or elementary school additions instead.
The Governance Committee does not have the power to change the policy, but even a discussion and recommendation should generate great interest in a community in which the debate over whether to build a new high school has been contentious.
Board member Patti Fields, who is not on the Governance Committee, sent an email to her fellow board members Saturday saying there was no indication until the agenda was released that the SILO policy would be discussed by the committee. She protested its inclusion on the agenda and wrote she had “great concerns that a matter of this magnitude is being discussed with little to no transparency and with only the bare minimum of legally required public notice. “
Monday’s meeting starts at 10 a.m. and is at the district’s administrative headquarters at 1725 N. Dodge St., Iowa City.