Tuesday, July 11, 2017

School board agenda for July 11

Very light agenda tonight. Two major items: First, the board will address the Hoover petition. The district’s attorney has posted another opinion about the issue, raising more objections to the petition. My initial post on the topic is here; the additional opinion from the district’s lawyer does not address the cases, Attorney General opinions, or legislative history records that I raised in that post.

Second, we’ll start the process of preparing for the vacancy in the seat of my fellow board member, LaTasha DeLoach, who is resigning from the board at the end of this week. State law says that the school board “shall” fill a vacancy by appointment, so I expect the board to at least make an effort to agree on an appointment. However, an appointment would last only until the next regular school board election, which is on this coming September 12. At that time, there will be an election to fill the seat for the remaining two years of DeLoach’s term.

(So there will now be four seats up for election in September. Candidates will have to choose whether to run for a four-year term or a two-year term. Of those running for four-year terms, the top three vote-getters will be elected. Voters will vote separately to elect one candidate to the two-year term.)

The full agenda is here. Please chime in with a comment about anything that catches your attention.


Anonymous said...

Why is the superintendent contract meeting canceled?

Anonymous said...

It is interesting that the district lawyer ignored your legal arguments. I don't think that speaks well of the district's position. I do expect the school board to decide to refuse the Save Hoover petition, which will set this up for a court case.
Which will mean lots and lots and lots of publicity and lots of opportunities to educate the public on Hoover, the bond and the endless stream of founded state and federal complaints against the district.
Yay for free press that won't cost a cent but will give repeated opportunities for voters to ponder their school related choices across the board.

Anonymous said...

In the personnal section it says that there is a resignation due to position elimination. I hate to see good hard working passionate staff let go. Any idea why there are budget cuts happening with the healthy kids clinic?

Anonymous said...

"Closing Hoover Elementary: The Cost of the $35 Million High School Baseball Field"

Baseball fields can be expensive. Building a baseball field can cost anywhere from $15,000 on up. Some reach into the millions. One in Iowa City, IA is setting records, at an estimated cost of $35 million it may well be the most expensive high school baseball field ever built.

So how does a district facing budget challenges afford a $35 million high school baseball field? Get everyone else to pay for it without them knowing, that's how.

This story will sell to a publication that has a legal team that will run rings around the Hayek's and Holland's of Iowa City.

amy said...

Chris, where can we find the text of the oath board members swear to, when they take office, and what the statutory responsibilities are? There's enough informed-advice-ignoring going on here on multiple issues that I'm starting to wonder where such issues begin to shade into personal culpability.

Chris said...

Anonymous (2:12) -- I don't see any way to get to $35 million as the cost of the Hoover closure. The primary cost is in the loss of an elementary school, including over 300 seats. The new elementary school in our facilities plan, which have approximately 600 seats, are estimated to cost roughly $19 million, so that gives you some sense of scale. Alternatively, the four-classroom addition planned for Alexander seven years from now is estimated to cost $1.5 million; that's probably about 1.2 or 1.3 million in today's dollars. By comparison, Hoover has 21 classrooms, not to mention other spaces such as the library, cafeteria, office, etc. So that’s another way to get a sense of how much it would cost (is costing?) to replace the Hoover facility.

It's also true that some money would likely be invested in Hoover if it were kept open (for example, by adding a gym or multi-purpose room that is separate from the cafeteria), which could arguably be deducted from the cost of losing the building. I say "arguably" because if Hoover's twenty-one classrooms are replaced elsewhere, that replacement will have to include the cost of associated common spaces to at least some extent.

And of course there are intangible and unmeasurable costs to the surrounding neighborhood of losing its nearby elementary school.

There isn't much point in speculating about the cost of a baseball stadium, since there is no City High baseball stadium in the district's Athletics Master Plan. Again, the district cannot or will not currently say what it intends to put on the Hoover property. To the extent that use costs money, it's not clear where that money will be coming from. In any event, I suspect the cost of losing the Hoover facility will be the much greater portion of the total cost of repurposing the Hoover site than the cost of a parking lot or a baseball stadium would be.

Chris said...

Amy -- The oath of office is here. The new board members take office at the first regular board meeting after the canvass of votes, which, this year, means the September 26 meeting.

The (many) statutes on board members' powers and duties are here. District policies are here.

Anonymous said...

Either way you slice it that is going to be one expensive baseball stadium. Given the cuts to discretionary busing and other budget woes I can see why they feel the need to sneak this in. It's obnoxious to put it kindly. It will make a great headline.

amy said...

Thank you, Chris.

If you have time: How would this:


permit an ACT officer to serve on the school board? We have no contracts with ACT?

Anonymous said...

If the bond doesn't pass how long will Liberty go without equitable athletic facilities and programs? Why even open a high school without athletic facilities? The Liberty athletic facilities is a major selling point for the bond. Why is the demolition of a perfectly good elementary school to build a baseball field for athletic equity not funded by the bond, but Liberty's athletic facilities have to be? Another example - West High just got 8 new tennis courts - the nicest high school tennis facilities that I have ever seen and most definitely more than what was needed at the high school level. Now is City High going to require similar upgrades for equity of facilities? I wonder what the cost was for West's tennis facilities? Liberty won't even have tennis facilities when it opens and I assume will have to share with West indefinitely if the bond doesn't pass. Just an example, but will there we an activity bus to transport North Liberty kids to West and back home every day during tennis season - not likely. Just more slimy tactics to try to pass a bond and demolish a perfectly good school I guess.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 8:37

Yes, Liberty is the 'carrot' that is being dangled in front of our faces for this bond and it isn't right or fair. I was very involved in the RPS discussions years ago and every chance I had I asked the question, "Which projects will you start but will be bond dependant for completion?". Time and time again I was told that won't be the case (Dude, Murley, Hansel). The claim was they would only start what they could finish without the bond (they also repeatedly claimed that the RPS vote would never lead to school closures). I questioned it way back then and here we are now - a HUGE bond with many of Liberties facilities (and others) bond dependent. I want and do support our schools but cannot vote for this bond. At some point we have to say, 'enough is enough'.

Anonymous said...

Along with the equally slimy tactic of threatening more school closures if the bond doesn't pass, leaving Liberty only partially complete was probably always part of the bond passage strategy Murley's using.

Other districts apparently use paid political consultants, whose fees are rolled into the architectural and financing fees, so that the political consulting doesn't appear to be paid for by you and me the taxpayer. If Murley is doing this, I believe it's a violation of Iowa law.

It is way beyond overdue to get rid of this horrific superintendent and his stooges on the school board majority, who, unbelievably, gave him a big raise instead of firing him.

Anonymous said...

Murley is as slimy and corrupt as it gets. It is no coincidence that he brings controversy, scandal and disgrace wherever he goes. They ran him out of Wausau, we need to do the same and cut our losses before we make a huge mistake with this bond. It is too bad Steve can't get hired away by some other district, we all know he has been trying really hard. Maybe his slimy and corrupt buddies up in Chicago can hire him - he would fit right in with that outfit. If only he had that PhD he promised he was going to get back 2010 that we have been paying for, what a joke. Seriously, what is taking so long, do we know? Is he really still trying to get it or did he just stop trying, or maybe he can't get it for some reason? When are we going to wake up and get rid of this clown.

amy said...

Anon 8:37, do you have any of those responses (we'll only start what we can finish without the bond) in writing?

Anonymous said...

Sorry Amy, I don't. Sadly, I believed what I was being told and didn't document anything. Times have changed.