Iowa Valley will not hold bond referendum

Previously-planned $33 million bond issue dropped for time being in light of tornado damage

tr photo by adam sodders Iowa Valley Education and Training Center students - two originally from Myanmar (formerly Burma) and one originally from Mexico - shared their stories of getting a formal education at the training center, 206 E. Church St., at Wednesday’s Iowa Valley Community College District Board of Trustees meeting. From left: students Salai Tun, Paw Taw and Maryna Salas; IVET Adult Literacy Programs Director Jon Nuñez.

Plans changed drastically for the Iowa Valley Community College District as Chancellor Chris Duree announced Wednesday a planned $33 million bond referendum will not be pursued this year.

The decision came after the July 19 tornado tore up a section of Marshalltown. District officials decided not to put a planned vote on the bond question on Wednesday’s IVCCD Board of Trustees meeting agenda.

“It wouldn’t be fair to the taxpayers in this community to ask (them) to support having their taxes raised to fix up our college campuses that weren’t impacted by the tornado when there were hundreds, if not thousands, of people still dealing with homes that were obliterated, and businesses,” Duree said. “Our focus right now needs to be helping the community, but not by asking them to support a bond referendum to have their taxes raised.”

Previously, the plan was to ask the public to approve $33 million for repairs all across the district, from Marshalltown Community College to Ellsworth Community College in Iowa Falls to Iowa Valley Grinnell.

About $17 million of the bond money, if approved, would have gone toward fixing immediate issues, such as security system fixes and repairs to walls, roofs, HVAC systems, windows and more.

Larger-scale projects, mostly on MCC and ECC infrastructure, were also planned. At MCC, work had been planned for parking lots and B.J. Harrison Library, among other areas; at ECC, renovations were planned for the Wall and Thompson residence halls, as well as the construction of a new residence hall.

Duree said there is no timeline on when the bond referendum will be an option for the district.

“We’ve already got a plan to have our team meet (and) start laying out what we can get done with the resources that we have,” he said. “I don’t think any of us, right now, can say when the time would be right to do the bond referendum.”

In other business

The IVCCD Board of Trustees approved an agreement between IVCCD and EVERFI Inc. for sexual assault training in compliance with federal regulations.

An agreement between the district and PepsiCo Inc. for vending services was also approved. The new agreement will see snacks also served at vending machines and the sponsorship went from $8,000 to $12,000; the product price also decreased by about 33 percent per case.

Approved a job training agreement with Mid-Iowa Cooperative in the amount of $20,000, continuing a partnership that has been in place since 2000.

Three Iowa Valley Education and Training Center students shared their positive experiences with the district. Salai Tun and Paw Taw, both originally from Myanmar, formerly Burma, and House of Compassion Assistant Director Maryna Salas spoke about how the center helped them overcome language barriers and find ideas for careers.

The next IVCCD Board of Trustees meeting is set for 4 p.m. Sept. 12 at Ellsworth Community College in Iowa Falls.

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Contact Adam Sodders at (641) 753-6611 or asodders@timesrepublican.com