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Superintendent news & views

It’s Official – Dissolution Vote is September 12

August 6, 2017
David Hill - Gladbrook-Reinbeck Superintendent , Reinbeck Courier

Over the course of my adult life, I have visited the Tama County Courthouse for many reasons to pay property taxes, to transfer the title of a car, and even to do my civic duty by serving on a jury. Recently though, I visited the courthouse for a very different reason - definitely for something that I never thought I'd be involved with: On behalf of the school district, I delivered a resolution to county election officials calling for a public vote that will decide the fate of a school system.

September 12 is election day, and the question is simple: Should the Gladbrook-Reinbeck School District Dissolve? Or, should the district continue as G-R? A "YES" vote will mean to dissolve (end) the district and divide the district's territory, students, assets, and liabilities among five neighboring districts. A "NO" vote will mean to continue as G-R.

As we enter the final weeks leading up to the dissolution election, there are a few important messages that I'd like to communicate to district patrons. It is important to be an educated voter, and I believe the items in the following paragraphs will help you to make sure you know what you need to know as you make up your mind. Some of these are items that you haven't heard from me before, while others have been stated previously in this column but are important and need to be repeated:

Article Photos

1) BE SURE TO VOTE! September 12 may be your one and only chance to have a say on whether Gladbrook-Reinbeck continues as a school district beyond the 2017-2018 school year. If you are eligible to vote (or if you will be eligible on or before September 12) then don't miss the opportunity.

Mark your calendar. Request an absentee ballot if necessary. If you aren't registered to vote, GET REGISTERED! (You can register at the polls on the day of the election, but being registered in advance will save valuable time.) If you've never voted in a school election before, you'll want to be sure to know whether your official polling place is at the Reinbeck Memorial Building, the Gladbrook Memorial Building, or the Lincoln Amvet Hall. Please note that your polling place may or may not be the same as the place you vote for a general election. We have requested longer polling hours for this election as we are anticipating a high turnout. Polls will be open from 8:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m.

2) UNDERSTAND YOUR VOTE. Know the meaning of a "YES" vote and a "NO" vote. I have provided a graphic to accompany this column which I think makes things clear.

3) KNOW WHAT "DISSOLUTION" MEANS. I still occasionally encounter people that think a dissolution means we would separate into two districts, just like it was before Gladbrook and Reinbeck merged. Some have equated it to a "divorce." I truly don't feel that is an accurate representation because in a divorce, both parties continue as separate entities on their own. A vote to dissolve means you're voting to END the Gladbrook-Reinbeck School District. There would be no more G-R Rebels; our students would be divided based on where they live and would become GMG Wolverines, Grundy Center Spartans, Dike-New Hartford Wolverines, Hudson Pirates, or North Tama Redhawks.

4) KNOW HOW DISSOLUTION AFFECTS YOU PERSONALLY. Look at the proposed map. If you have children, what district would you live in if G-R dissolves? Even if you don't have children, you should know what school district your home, business, or property would become part of if the district dissolves, as this may affect your property values and will definitely affect your property tax rates. Would your property and income taxes go up or go down if the district dissolves?

By the way, if any district patron is having trouble determining which district your property would become attached to in the event of a dissolution, feel free to contact my office and we will be glad to help you figure this out.

5) THINK GLOBALLY. In #4 above, I encouraged you to think about how a dissolution would affect YOUR children and YOUR tax rates. In addition, I encourage you to not just consider the effect on yourself but on the children of the ENTIRE SCHOOL DISTRICT. First and foremost, the school district exists to meet the needs of our students. Whether you have school-aged children or not, we all benefit from having an educated workforce and from having neighbors who are good citizens. What do you believe would be best for the children who are residents of Lincoln, Gladbrook, Reinbeck, Morrison, and the surrounding rural areas?

The dissolution commission and school board received very few questions and comments at the public hearings they held. Just as these hearings yielded little or no questions or comments from the public, the telephone Q&A line and online Q&A form that I promoted in this column also resulted in very few questions. In one or more of my upcoming columns prior to the election, I will do my best to answer the few questions that were submitted. If you missed the opportunity to submit a question, there may still be time if you hurryjust reread that early May column on my blog at tinyurl.com/May5Column for instructions.

Each voter has the right to his or her own opinion on this issue. The Gladbrook-Reinbeck School Board has expressed its opinion by passing a resolution pursuant to Iowa law, stating it is unanimously opposed to dissolution and of the opinion that a "NO" vote is appropriate in the upcoming election. The school board cited various reasons for its opinion, including the likely closing of additional school buildings, the elimination of nearly 100 teaching and support staff jobs, and the loss of high-quality programs and services offered by the district. G-R's record of outstanding academic, athletic and fine arts accomplishments while maintaining one of the lowest school property tax rates in the region is also cited as a reason for the school board's opinion. The resolution can be viewed at tinyurl.com/DissolutionResolution.

The outcome of the vote on September 12 will determine the future of the Gladbrook-Reinbeck Community School district. Don't miss out on your opportunity to participate in this important election.

 
 

 

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