ICCSD Spending Priorities – February 24, 2011

415 Elmridge Avenue
Iowa City, IA 52245
319-341-6098

February 24, 2011

Cedar Rapids Gazette
Iowa City, IA 52240

and

Iowa City Press-Citizen
Iowa City, IA 52240

Dear Editor,

Re: ICCSD spending priorities?

The ICCSD decided it was too expensive to continue its Home Building Program which would have celebrated and built its 40th house this year because the $50,000 for the instructor was deemed too expensive. This was a disastrous decision and essentially was the first step in killing the Vocational/Technical curriculum in the ICCSD. But fear not, the district has its priorities straight. They spent $145,245 for a 2010 International garbage truck; approved $85,000 to remodel the Maintenance Shop and wash-bay of the Physical Plant; $30,000 to remodel Food Service drivers’ office and meeting room; $30,000 to insulate steam line tunnels in the Central Administration Building which has been sold to UI and is slated for demolition – although this expense may be deleted. Approved $34,000 for a Denver, Colorado consultant to show how the Board and the Superintendent should work together. Hired a Community Relations Coordinator for $48,000/year (this is a part-time position mind you) to communicate the District’s intentions to the community. Increased pay to Administrative employees. Just on these items alone, we’re at $372,245 which is roughly 7.4 full-time teachers or 7.4 years of Building Program.

The ICCSD Board needs to maximize dollars in the classrooms instead of “wasting” money in creating a Waste Department second to none in the State of Iowa.

                                                             PHIL HEMINGWAY

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Restraint on Spending

415 Elmridge Avenue
Iowa City, IA 52245
319-341-6098

February 20, 2011

Iowa City Press-Citizen
Iowa City, IA 52240

Dear Editor,

At a time when the State Legislature appears to be poised to limit school funding to zero growth and the ICCSD is in deficit spending per Paul Bobek, it’s past due for the Iowa City Community School Board to display some leadership and restraint when it comes to spending. Anyone who has attended a School Board meeting in the last two (2) years could see the lack of financial discipline and wasteful spending outside the classroom (teachers with students). The School Board purchased a $145,245.00 garbage truck with the following abbreviated list of features: air-conditioning, back-up camera, magnum tailgate package, optional hopper lights, twin-screw and 2007 emissions (dirtier than present 2010 advanced EGR or SCR emissions systems). At this time not all classrooms are air-conditioned or have SmartBoards™, yet the District felt it necessary for this purchase without exploring options such as working with the City to see if an arrangement could be worked out for the City to use its fleet of garbage trucks or to look at the private sector option. But no, the School District chose to trade in their 2004 Freightliner garbage truck for a 2010 International garbage truck. Of course, it’s larger and would take fewer trips, but they never justified having a garbage truck in the first place. The Building program which constructed 39 homes in the Iowa City School District was killed because the $50,000 for the instructor was deemed too much. Obviously this garbage truck was of greater importance to the Board than a program that gave students the opportunity to build homes, gain valuable hands-on experience and a sense of accomplishment. The School Board needs to maximize dollars in classrooms (teachers with students) and stop spending money on remodeling of the Physical Plant facilities, hiring of additional administrative staff & consultants and get a grip on their operating costs. Every dollar spent outside the classroom constitutes a theft from the educational process. Earlier I mentioned that our new garbage truck is a twin screw; this does not refer to its sexual orientation but to its rear propulsion and its impact on the tax payers.

PHIL HEMINGWAY