Iowa City Schools to Have Special Meeting on Funding

By Gregg Hennigan

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By Ellen Kurt

IOWA CITY, Iowa – The Iowa City school board will hold a special work session Oct. 11 to discuss funding options for building projects.

Board members have been struggling with, and arguing about, how to pay for all of the needs that come with the school district’s growing enrollment. A new high school, up to three new elementary schools and renovations at existing buildings have all been discussed, but the district does not have the money to pay for all of those.

Last week, the board was told that instead of using its traditional pay-as-you-go approach, it could turn to bonds to get more money sooner.

One option is general obligation bonds, which would require 60 percent approval from voters.

Another is tax anticipation revenue bonds. The school board can issue those itself, but a new revenue purpose statement would have to be approved by voters to replace the one that was part of the successful school infrastructure local-option sales tax vote in 2007.

Last week Craig Hansel, the school district’s chief financial officer, encouraged board members to consider borrowing the money through a bond issue.

The board asked Superintendent Stephen Murley to come with a recommendation to the Thursday meeting, which starts at 6 p.m. at the Educational Services Center, 1725 N. Dodge St., Iowa City.

Thursday’s meeting could set the stage for a board vote Oct. 16 seeking a special election for a bond issue Dec. 4.

The next available election dates after those are in February, April, June and September of next year.

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