Both sides promise action as Iowa City school district makes plans for the money

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IOWA CITY - The election may be over, but there's plenty to do for the Iowa City Community School District.

Passage of the revenue purpose statement, which allows the district to borrow against future sales-tax dollars, now enables administrators to build a framework for long-term facilities planning, a process currently under way. This means a timeline for potential elementary schools in North Liberty and the east side of Iowa City, as well as various building additions and upgrades.

"In the long run, it just gives us an opportunity to do whats best for our facilities," said Marla Swesey, school board president. "Its good for all our students."

The school district is already working with consultants on a long-term facilities plan and a decade-long look at enrollment projections. Superintendent Stephen Murley said the enrollment projections should be ready in three to four weeks, and data about building information will be presented to the school board at the end of March or early April.

As for the passionate parent voices on both sides of the issue, there's still more to do as well.

Coralville resident Chris Lynch, a member of the One District YES committee supporting the RPS, called the 56 percent majority "a big win."

"I guess well probably meet to talk about this, but hopefully, well move on to supporting the comprehensive plan," said Lynch, whose children attend North Central Junior High School in Coralville and Iowa City West High School. "The real work of executing the plan begins now."

East-side Iowa City parent Deb Thornton, who organized the People for All committee opposing the statement, still plans to keep a close eye on the district.

"The school board and superintendent need to get the message, they need to be on notice, that we are watching because there are a significant number of citizens who want them to use the money wisely," she said. "Were going to keep going to school board meetings, we're going to keep reviewing reports, were going to keep asking questions. The school board has to be accountable, the superintendent has to be accountable to the taxpayers. They need to remember that it's not their money. Its on loan from the taxpayers. ... This is not the end."

Gazette reporter Gregg Hennigan contributed to this report.

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