“On Tuesday, residents of the Iowa City Community School District will be asked to invest in the education of all students in the district,” Iowa City superintendent Stephen Murley says in a guest column published Sunday. “This vote represents an opportunity to provide support for the students currently enrolled in the district and for future generations.
“At the onset of discussions about the need for a new revenue purpose statement, we reinforced that a vote in favor of the RPS does not result in a new tax and does not affect current tax rates,” Murley continues. “However, it is important to state that this is not a vote about a tax or a tax rate. This is a vote about something much more important: our children’s future.
“Passage of a new RPS would serve as a crucial first step in guaranteeing that our schools can continue to meet the needs of every student in our growing district and provide each student the greatest opportunity to succeed. Since 2007, the District’s official enrollment has increased from 11,718 students to 12,774 students, and projections show a minimum growth of more than 200 students per year for the next five years. Because of this growth, the district is currently housing 41 classrooms in temporary facilities on 13 campuses.
“These trends cannot be ignored. Knowing that this revenue stream is available is a key component for future facility planning. This is a vote about the long-term sustainability of our district.”
The Gazette’s editorial board agrees. “The Iowa City school district is of the state’s fastest-growing,” an editorial published Sunday says. “Enrollment has grown by more than 1,000 new students in the past five years.
“At the same time, the district’s buildings have been getting older. Repairs and renovations have piled up as the district struggled just to keep pace with the district’s most pressing facilities needs.
“By Tuesday’s end, voters in the Iowa City school district will have decided whether or not to allow school leaders to borrow against future tax revenues in order to get a leg up on those needs. We think they should support this proposal.
“Critics are correct about a lack of specificity in the district’s plans for the approximately $100 million that would be available by a “yes” vote. But despite some of the shortcomings on information, the revenue purpose statement on Tuesday’s Iowa City school referendum addresses the big-picture infrastructure needs faster and better than other options.”
Do you agree? Is Iowa City schools’ proposal to borrow against future state school sales tax money to fund infrastructure needs a good idea?
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