Water quality bill could hinder school facilities plan

Published: Jan. 23, 2018 at 10:48 PM CST
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A bill to address pollution in Iowa's rivers and streams may threaten funding for Cedar Rapids schools new facilities plan.

The bill headed to the Governor's desk spends $282 million over 12 years on projects to address pollution in Iowa's water ways. That money comes from redirecting other state money - including from a program called SAVE, which funds school infrastructure.

SAVE is a critical funding source for Cedar Rapids schools new facilities plan, which the board approved Monday night. That plan builds 10 new, bigger elementary schools over 20 years and closes eight others permanently. Because of SAVE, Superintendent Brad Buck has said the plan would not need a bond vote.

While debating that plan last night, the President of the Cedar Rapids School Board emphasized the need for more secure state funding to school districts.

"I would encourage every one of us in this room to let our legislators know, not just our legislators but all legislators in the governor's office know in Iowa that we value public education and that's through higher education. It all makes a difference and it's unacceptable the levels that we are receiving from the state of Iowa. Our children are hurting and the future of our state is hurting," John Laverty, Cedar Rapids School Board President, said.

KCRG-TV9 reached out to the Cedar Rapids School District Tuesday about the impact redirecting SAVE funding might have on its new facilities plan and whether it might now need a bond vote. The district did not respond.