Guest Columnists

Extend the penny tax to help Iowa's students

The College/Career Center that is part of the new South Commons at Linn-Mar High School in Marion, Iowa, home Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2017. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
The College/Career Center that is part of the new South Commons at Linn-Mar High School in Marion, Iowa, home Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2017. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
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This has been a tough few weeks for K-12 public education in Iowa and throughout the country.

As the legislative session continues, key votes regarding K-12 education are pending that will impact our children, parents, taxpayers and communities. One of these key items is the extension of the state penny sales tax, also known as Secure an Advanced Vision for Education (SAVE).

While the discussions in Des Moines might seem like adult issues, it is our children who are impacted. We legislators, parents and communities need to focus on what is best for the kids. After all, our kids are the future and, without them, our communities and state will be struggling to compete for years.

School districts across the state of Iowa have benefited from the state penny sales tax. In 2008, the Legislature approved legislation that gave school districts one penny from sales taxes to go toward improving school facilities and technology. The money generated from this penny has helped districts build and upgrade facilities, upgrade technology equipment for students and helped lower property taxes for Iowa taxpayers.

Since 2008, the Linn-Mar district has been able to build Novak Elementary School, remodel and expand the high school, add classrooms to Westfield Elementary and enlarge the cafeteria at Oak Ridge Middle School.

I appreciate the Legislature’s previous work on this issue, and there are many stories around the state that testify to the state penny’s successes.

It is my hope that the Legislature acts quickly to extend this vital source of revenue for Linn-Mar and other school districts. I encourage parents and community members of Linn-Mar and around the state to speak up, contact your legislator and ask them to do what is best for our children.

• Tim Isenberg is president of the Linn-Mar Community School District board of education.

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We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.