The Linn-Mar school board’s push for a bond to build another junior high does not solve the district’s ongoing space problem. In the past 25 years Linn-Mar has overtaken Marion Independent and grown from a small district into a big district due to the growth in Robins, north Cedar Rapids and Marion. But the undeveloped space between Interstate 380 and Highway 13 is going to grow dramatically in the next 20 years. Building another junior high is a stop gap measure that will probably be insufficient once an actual building is complete.
Linn-Mar should yield all non-developed territory north of County Home Road and east of Highway 13 to three districts that could benefit from the increased tax base: Alburnett, Central City, and Springville. I realize that home developers leverage being within Linn-Mar’s boundary to sell homes, so to encourage development in these areas I would suggest large, rural style developments on multi-acre lots that require less infrastructural investment by developers.
Just as Cedar Rapids has one school district with four high schools, it also makes sense for Linn-Mar to split into two high schools (using Alburnett Road as a dividing line), and for Linn-Mar East and West high schools, along with feeder elementary and junior high schools, to merge with Marion into one school district. Having three high schools in one district would allow continually rebalancing as the area continues to grow in the coming decades. That would be worth an extra $300 in yearly taxes.