Members of the board listen as a member of the public adresses the Iowa City School Board on Tuesday June 13, 2017. (The Daily Iowan/Nick Rohlman)

Guest Ops: ICCSD Bond and election

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Approve the general-obligation bond

When my son, Dashiell, passed away at 5 from cancer, it became my mission to champion for causes related to the well-being of all children. I’m ardently dedicated in using my voice and voting for this. And I’m very particular about where I attach my name.

So after thorough research, I’m speaking up to encourage our community to approve the general-obligation bond because it will mean helping all students and schools throughout our district.

Adequate and equitable classrooms are critical. District buildings have aged while updates have not kept pace. Simultaneously, we’re experiencing growth of almost 300 students per year, and more space is needed. This combination requires we take action.

Some who oppose the bond say it doesn’t address all needs. But it does affect all areas of the district to enrich learning environments for our students.

Failure will only mean our problems continue. Delay increases the costs of construction. More importantly, our kids will continue to endure sweltering classrooms in buildings that lack air conditioning or be educated in modular, temporary classrooms.

After speaking to School Board candidates Ruthina Malone and Janet Godwin, they believe, as do I, that our kids and teachers require these enhancements. Ruthina’s passion and integrity, along with Janet’s commitment and knowledge, will strengthen the educational system. I feel confident they will bring positive, long-term improvements for the success of all School District children.

On Sept. 12, I’m voting YES for the bond and these two candidates. I hope you will, too.

— Pamela Codd

 

All of our kids deserve better

As a parent of children who passed through Lucas, Southeast Junior High, and City High, I am astounded our community is debating the necessity for the Sept. 12 bond vote. Have opponents set foot in our schools? We have handicapped-inaccessible buildings, 27 years after the Americans with Disabilities Act was passed. We have brick-oven schools without air conditioning, where walking down a hallway breaks a sweat even when outdoor temperatures are below 80.

This is not the community we chose to move to 20 years ago, largely because we believed the School District had a commitment to outstanding education for all. Sadly, I am not sure I would repeat that choice today.

The U.S. Secretary of Education supports private schools and gutting public funding, while refusing to denounce discrimination against LGBTQ youth. Our state Legislature
repeatedly under-prioritizes and underfunds education and recently stripped teacher bargaining rights. Yet our community fights about investing in equitable education for all?

Regardless of claims from the “Vote No” crowd, this IS NOT a referendum on the superintendent or School Board. Neither entity will lose anything if the bond fails. The same is not true for our students, too many of whom attend school in cramped rooms with 30-plus children, in un-air-conditioned spaces; others are placed in temporary buildings for consecutive years until there are permanent fixtures of the school. Vote YES Sept. 12. Then please fight against inequity in our state and national education policies. All of our kids deserve better.

— Dawn Willging

 

Vote ‘Yes’ for school bond

The Iowa City School District is growing, and we need more space. In addition, our older schools desperately need accessibility and air-conditioning updates. I urge residents to vote YES on Sept. 12, to approve the funds needed to provide equitable classrooms and to finish Liberty High School.

Some who oppose the bond vote also oppose urban sprawl. This is a legitimate concern, but the School District has absolutely no control over this issue. The students are here, the needs exist. Support our students — and the need for adequate and equitable learning spaces — by voting in favor of this measure.

Of the 10 largest school districts in Iowa, the Iowa City School District (fifth largest) has the lowest property-tax rate. Our kids are worth it. No student should have to learn in a temporary
“mobile” classroom for several years in a row. No student should have to use ice packs and water bottles in a sweltering classroom, while trying to learn. No student should be unable to hear the teacher because of blowing fans.

Please vote YES, and also consider casting your ballot for Shawn Eyestone, Ruthina Malone, and Janet Godwin.

— Jacqueline Nelson

 

Support Ruthina Malone in School Board election

Ruthina Malone has my support in the upcoming School Board election. I met Ruthina when she was a seasoned PTO leader, and I was a new kindergarten parent at Lucas Elementary. She became my role model for active participation and leadership in our school. She continued volunteering with the junior-high and high-school parent organizations and on the district-level Climate Survey Task Force.

In her professional life, she manages multimillion dollar budgets and human resources for two departments in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. She also has planned major building and renovation projects. All of these skills are directly applicable to the work of the School Board.

I know Ruthina Malone to be a person of highest integrity, and I am confident that she will bring a district-wide vision to her role as a School Board member, seeking out community members to help her understand issues from numerous points of view. She is committed to ensuring that all of our schools meet the needs of all of our students, with particular attention to the needs and experiences of students of color and students with special needs.

You have four votes in the Sept. 12 School Board election. I urge you to join me in voting for Ruthina Malone.

— Mary Kenyon

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