Today will be the last time that school board elections and school-related votes will take place in September. In spring the Iowa Legislature approved combining city and school elections into November of odd-numbered years (bill text here) along with a tweaking of acceptable other dates throughout the year for special elections. This is probably ill-advised because of the jurisdictional issues — school and city ballots will have to be separate or else multiple versions will be necessary — but that’s what’s going to happen.
Much of the attention this cycle is on the Iowa City bond issue, the largest by dollar amount in Iowa history. The opening of Liberty High is only a part of what the Iowa City school district is dealing with, because of the growth and population shifts. The bond issue would also put air conditioning in all the schools. There is a semi-organized movement against it, and there’s at least some fear there’s a stealth plan to close the school in Hills.
But of equal or maybe greater importance, in terms of the message it carries and the lasting impact, is the decision on whether to dissolve the Gladbrook-Reinbeck school district. It has finally reached a vote after a false start, because if at first you don’t secede, try, try again.
Stories: KCRG (which I am not embedding because it autoplays), KWWL, Grundy Register, Marshalltown Times-Republican. As I have gone over before, having a vote at all is a catastrophically bad idea, yet also fits perfectly with the way of things in 2017. GR could really use a few crumbs of the umpteen million dollars Apple is going to drop on Waukee, whose school district added GR’s entire enrollment last year.
In the GR election, a “No” is to keep the district as it is, and thus keep a school in Reinbeck; a “Yes” is to dissolve Gladbrook-Reinbeck.
PRE-POST UPDATE: The pro-dissolution side made a TV commercial. Former GR school board member Michael Bearden — who according to Radio Iowa is “spearheading the movement” speaks: ”The consolidation of the Gladbrook-Reinbeck school was a great partnership. That partnership ended with the closing of the Gladbrook campus. … Voting YES to dissolve the GR district is a win-win situation for all students.”
That’s not just burning bridges; that’s napalming them.
RESULTS UPDATE: Resolution fails by 69%-31% margin.