Saturday, July 22, 2017

Mixed messages, part 6

As I mentioned in my last post, after the board settled on a bond proposal, the district began to generate “informational” materials about it. Those materials, though, were inconsistent on the issue of just how much bond passage would put legal constraints on the district.

One iteration of the material, for example, stated:
Q: What if the bond passes and the board changes its mind on what projects need to be completed?

A: There is no clear answer to this question. As a general rule, ballot propositions should be drafted as precisely as possible; at the same time, the Iowa Courts recognize that their phrasing encompasses some measure of board discretion and leeway and that inaccuracies in drafting do not always involve material matters. The particular language of the ballot and facts and circumstances at the time will be important considerations for the board.
Just a little further in the same document, though, this appeared:
Q: What happens if the bond passes?

A: We continue to transform the learning environment delivering a 21st Century classroom for our students and our staff. Air conditioning, renovations, and capacity increases to accommodate student growth continue as planned by the FMP.
(Emphasis added.) This response states as a fact that if the bond passes, the district will continue the projects as planned in the facilities master plan (FMP). A bit further:
Q: Will more schools close if the bond is approved?

A: No. It is the total opposite. A GO bond locks in the plan! Investing millions of dollars in your school is a good reason to keep it open.
Locks in the plan! In later versions of the materials, those answers changed, but the mixed messages persisted. Continued in part 7.

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