Group urges voters to pass Iowa City bond referendum

Published: Apr. 26, 2017 at 10:52 PM CDT
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School districts often face uphill battles when trying to get voters to approve bond issues.

That’s why some parents are concerned voters will turn down money for the Iowa City School District this fall. The district is asking for $190 million through a bond issue.

The campaign is called One Community, One Bond, and the group formed to raise awareness of this vote.

Without money from the General Obligation Bond the school district can't finish its Facilities Master Plan.

The plan is half done. The next five years call for construction of a new elementary school and updates to 20 other current school buildings.

“We've known all along the community would have to chip in for the final part,” Mary Kate Pilcher- Hayek said.

Pilcher- Hayek is part of the One Community One Bond campaign. She says updates to district buildings aren't just for cosmetic reasons.

"We don't have air conditioning in some places. We have to cancel school sometimes because it's too hot. We have students eating lunch in the hallways. We have rain coming through windows and I think these are issue that impact the learning environment,” Mary Kate Pilcher- Hayek said.

The district asked for public input before deciding on the large bond amount, rather than multiple smaller bond votes.

"The overwhelming response at our listening posts was go for the full bond, make sure every school gets what it needs,” Brian Kirschling said.

School Board member Brian Kirschling says community support is necessary.

"It's no secret in the last year, we've seen some changes in the national level, in the state level that don't necessarily support public education, and this is our community's chance to up or down a vote on education,” he said.

One Community, One Bond plans to raise money to create ads informing voters of the Sept. 12 election.

"This isn't a political issue. This is a public school issue. If you believe in education you believe in the bond,” Pilcher- Hayek said.

For a $200,000 home, property taxes would increase $102 a year, if the bond passes.