By Rod Sullivan
I wholeheartedly support the Iowa City Community School District bond referendum. Here is why:
1. Our kids need it. Johnson County keeps growing, and our schools haven’t kept up. We add over 300 students per year, the equivalent of one elementary school. Our kids deserve climate controls. They deserve rooms for art, music and PE. If nothing changes, 60 percent of our students will have class in a temporary classroom. And ADA accommodations are federal law!
2. Our teachers deserve it. Our teachers are magnificent and at a minimum deserve to work in safe, comfortable environments.
3. Education is at our core. Education is our biggest industry, biggest employer and greatest point of pride. We are defined by education.
4. Buildings schools is great for the local construction industry.
That is why I support the bond. Now allow me to address some of the bond’s critics:
Some say, “You can’t trust the board.” All the more reason to pass a bond! Bonding language spells out every project. Passing a bond is the best way to hold them accountable.
There is an old Zen proverb: “Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.” I view the bond vote in much the same way: “Hate the board? Our kids need the bond. Love the board? Our kids need the bond.”
For adults to allow their petty political differences to stand in the way of facilities our children need is not OK. This is not about the board or administration. Neither will be here for long; our children will be. While adults bicker, children suffer.
Some say, “It is too expensive.” The school district has bonds coming off the same time these would start. It makes the overall tax increase a very manageable $0.98/$1,000, or $4.25 per month on $100,000 assessed value. Even if the bond passes, the ICCSD will still have the lowest tax rate of any urban district in Iowa — lower than our neighboring districts.
The current plan took seven years to get this far. If we vote no, we are telling our 10 year olds they will never see any facilities improvements during their academic careers.
Finally, please consider this: With all the negativity in Washington and Des Moines, where they can do whatever they want to us, here is an opportunity for us to stand up and show that we support education.
Much more information is available at passthebond.com.