116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
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This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I’m here with your update for Tuesday, September 28th.
Expect the sunny and pleasant weather to continue Tuesday. According to the National Weather Service there will be a high near 86 degrees in the Cedar Rapids area with a mild wind. On Tuesday night it should be clear skies, with a low around 58 degrees.
According to an Associated Press report, nearly one in every four Iowa public school students attend districts that have experienced significant COVID-19 outbreaks so far this year, according to a federal lawsuit seeking to prevent the state from enforcing a law banning mask mandates in schools.
Furthermore, the information indicates 11 school districts, including Waterloo, Sioux City and Muscatine, reported more positive cases in the first month of the school year than during the entire previous year. The data was included in court documents made public Monday by lawyers for 11 parents and the disability rights group the Arc of Iowa, who are suing the state.
The legal battle continues after a federal judge issued a temporary injunction against Iowa’s law against mask mandates in schools on Sept. 13.
In an effort to reduce arrests and improve relations with the community, police officers in Cedar Rapids schools will not be involved in enforcing school rules or discipline, will wear “soft” uniforms to appear more approachable, and must allow parents or guardians to be present if their children are questioned by officers in school.
On Monday night the seven-member school board unanimously approved the revisions to an agreement between the Cedar Rapids Community School District and the city of Cedar Rapids and its police department.
Also under the amended agreement, full-time officers have been removed permanently from McKinley and Roosevelt middle schools. Anticipating the change, the district removed them before the first day of school Aug. 23. Full-time school resource officers will remain at Kennedy, Jefferson, Washington and Metro high schools and Polk Alternative.
The state ended fiscal 2021 with a general-fund surplus of nearly $1.24 billion, Gov. Kim Reynolds announced Monday — much more than earlier forecast and money she has indicated could lead to further tax cuts.
When the 2021 legislative session ended in May, the Legislative Services Agency estimated the surplus for fiscal 2021 would be $487.6 million. On Monday, the governor said the balance was almost $1.239 billion instead, and “that’s on top of the $1 billion in cash reserves and our emergency funds.”
During a political fundraising event over the weekend, Reynolds expressed pride in the accomplishments and told her Republican supporters the surplus likely would mean more tax cuts proposed in the future.
“This is why we cut taxes this year and eliminated the inheritance tax,” she said. “This is your money, not the government’s. And I will never forget that. Republicans in the Legislature will never forget that, which is why we will continue to cut taxes in Iowa.”