Rod Sullivan, Supervisor, Johnson County, Iowa

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September 21, 2012

Sullivan’s Salvos 9/25/12 In this edition: *ICCSD Challenges *Excellent Work By IPP! *Oktoberfest *Early Voting Starts! *Did You Know? ICCSD Challenges There has been a great deal of discussion in the community regarding ICCSD facilities. Should the priority be a fourth high school? Should the priority be new eastside elementaries? Should we be discussing updates to older schools? Clearly the answers to these questions are yes, yes, and yes! We have multiple priorities. My issue is that I do not see why these priorities need to compete. I think the Board and Administration must recognize that there is a way to move forward with multiple projects. Purchase the land necessary to build a fourth high school. The land is unlikely to get cheaper. We were already taxed for it – spend it. Go ahead and begin planning what the building will look like. Use all the capacity at City (this may mean some redistricting!) and then some before you break ground. (All this should take several years.) Be sure the finances to operate it exist before we actually break ground. Meanwhile, folks in North Liberty and North Coralville will need to understand that this high school will start out considerably smaller than West and City. Course offerings may vary a bit. A slightly smaller school is not a problem – neighboring Clear Creek Amana is a GREAT school, and a nice size. And it is not as though this is a new thing. The ICCSD operated University High School from 1916-1972; classes there were much smaller than classes at City. For that matter, West was much smaller than City when it opened. Board Members and Administration just need to be clear about that upfront, and stick to their guns when the inevitable complaints about “equity” arise. As this is occurring, air condition older schools, and make them accessible. We should not build any more new elementaries until this is done. I served on the 1999 Yes For Kids Steering Committee. We promised that Mann, Longfellow, and other elementaries would be made ADA a compliant. We promised! This simply must be done; we were already taxed for it! The fact that we have gone 13 years and nothing was done in this area is really inexcusable. Updates can likely be done while a fourth high school is still in the planning stages. Once the renovations are completed, build a new eastside elementary. There is not enough money? Then we’ll need to pass a bond. Start on some projects, figure out what else is needed, and ask the voters to approve it. They already voted for renovations (’99) and another High School (’07). Ask them to vote on a new elementary. Easy, right? I realize that the way I am laying things out is overly simple. But the task ahead of the ICCSD is not impossible. There are a few key things that I feel would help them move forward: 1. Public feedback is important, but the ICCSD Board has been paralyzed while accepting input. There comes a time when decisions must be made. We are past that point. 2. We all want the Board to decide, right? Well, once a decision is made, it is made! At some point we must move forward with some type of a plan. If new Board members undo everything previous Boards have passed, we are stuck. Forever. 3. Let’s all relax the rhetoric a little bit. A student in the ICCSD is a lucky kid, whether she attends West or City. If your kid gets transferred, the world will not end. Chill. School Board members have the most difficult jobs of any elected official. They deal with the most staff, biggest budgets, and most important subject (our kids). All this for no pay while working what amounts to a second job. I admire School Board members. My brother serves in that capacity. And I think we are served by a good group of people in the ICCSD. I don’t really care that they fight. These are important issues – worth fighting over! To me, arguing demonstrates passion. Give me a group that cares any day over a herd of cattle being led by the nose through their agenda! But we must get some things accomplished. The public is tired of inaction. Unless we begin building something, the ICCSD Board risks losing all credibility. It is simply time to move forward. Vote, then start building something. The voters will let you know how they feel about your decisions. Just decide. *Excellent Work By IPP! The folks at the Iowa Policy Project continue to put out great work. Peter Fisher just did a great article on the ineffectiveness of big tax giveaways to big businesses, with little coming in return. Governor Branstad reached the height of hypocrisy with his criticism of Democrats “picking winners and losers” while at the same time handing out the biggest corporate welfare package in Iowa’s history. Brazen hypocrisy! Branstad’s largess (coupled with Lee County’s share) amounts to $1,500,000 per job. At that amount, you could pay 600 people $40,000 per year for 10 years. To do nothing. Or to build roads. Or to care for seniors. Or to serve as cops. Basically, to do anything! Yet Branstad chooses instead to line the pockets of a foreign company. Lee County is home to about 13,000 jobs. It has the State’s highest unemployment rate (less than 10%). In other words, roughly 1200 people need jobs. So theoretically, you could create 600 jobs – cutting unemployment in half – using the tax dollars we are shipping to Egypt. And you’d have infrastructure to show for it! To read the article, see: *Oktoberfest Northside Oktoberfest 2012 is coming up October 5 & 6 in Northside Iowa City! With live music, games for kids and adults, and 14 local food vendors, there's fun for the whole family. Proceeds go to the American Heart Association and the Horace Mann Elementary Smartboard Program. Melissa and I attended Oktoberfest last year, and had a great time! I hope to see you there this year! For more information, see: *Early Voting Starts! Early voting for the November 6 election begins Thursday, September 27! That is the day when absentee ballots get mailed to folks who have requested them. Voting will be available at the Auditor’s Office and ICPL on that day; in addition, a schedule of satellite voting locations and times is available on the Auditor’s website: *DID YOU KNOW? Iowa City West is #9 in enrollment in the State of Iowa; City High is #29. Anyone interested in learning more about County government should take a look at the County website- "Sullivan’s Salvos" is sent once per week to any interested party. It will give a brief update on issues of interest to Johnson County residents. These messages come solely from Rod Sullivan, and neither represents the viewpoints of the whole Board of Supervisors nor those of groups or individuals otherwise mentioned. If you do NOT want the weekly E-mail, simply reply to this message, and type "unsubscribe" in the subject line. If you know anyone else who might be interested, just forward this message. They can E-mail me at with "subscribe" in the subject line. As always, feel free to contact me at 354-7199 or I look forward to serving you! ---Rod


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