tv The Steele Report NBC January 18, 2016 3:05am-3:30am CST
set for the day after the caucuses which would be on february 2nd. so that's going to be a very, very important day for the future of the waterloo community school district. we have three special guests that i would like to introduce to you right now. actually, they don't need, as we say, introduction because they're all very well-known in the community. first of all, we have mike young. he's a local attorney here in town and a former president of the waterloo board of education. so that's mike young. also on the panel today we have robert smith, also a former president of the waterloo school board, former black hawk county supervisor and a director of northern iowa center for education. robert is a well-known sports official, as you know, in this area for college football, having refereed the ncaa championship game not too longing ago. also we have on the panel. former state iowa representative anesa kajtazovic, now the
council in black hawk county. i welcome you all to the program. dr. jane lindaman will be on the segment as we wrap this up as we talk about the important vote. we should say as a disclaimer, you three are all members of the vote yes committee. so i think it's pretty obvious from the outset, this is kind of a slanted show today. we're going to let them explain to you why they feel that this vote is so important for the future of the waterloo school district. we've seen the ads, mike, the handouts. what are you asking from the voters on february 2nd? and why do you think it's so important? we'll kind of go around the table. >> we're asking voters to approve a referendum to build a career center that would be located just south of central middle school where the voters remember where the old driver's training course was at central middle school. that would be a single career center that would house a number of programs, up to 30 programs
for high school students. also it would be east high and west high. those would be $30 million each and $35 million for the career center for a price tag of $47 million. now, the district would contribute about $8 million through one-cent sales tax money. what we're asking voters to approve is the funding for the remaining portion of the career center and the high school plan. technically it's a bond refer rum but what we're proposing to do is fund it through an income sur tax. >> this is something i know i'm familiar with because i live in hudson. we've had the school sur taxed for a long time. i think it's five cents. it's not a little bit but it's not a great deal. robert, i remember when you were pushing just to have kids get two-point averages to play sports and there was a lot of controversy in that.
this technical career expansion, i think you would think it was a great opportunity for kids. >> to me that's what the selling point was to me. i think if young kids forgotten gauged early on, it gives them an opportunity to stay focused and the most important thing i'm supportive of this bond referendum is young people will do well in school and stay focused. i think it will help with the dropout rate. i think it will do a lot of things like i felt with the grade point affirm, if we keep them focused on education, they'll do much better in the long run as young people. >> a lot of kids do lose focus or they're not interested in something, they get in the wrong crowd, drop out and then they're on a wayward path that is really difficult to recover from. that's what this is all about. the dropout rate is maybe kind of one of the offshoots benefits that will come from this program. >> absolutely, ron.
when you think about it, we all agree, especially the business community agrees, that we need to be more innovative in our schools. the traditional model has always been a student will sit in a classroom all day long, take notes and take tests. and so forth. the problem is, everything has changed now. we have technology that is changing and transforming, you know, every single job sector out there, every single job sector. what this really does, it allows every student to have those hands-on opportunities in so many different fields, so many. whether they're interested in pursuing that as a career, hopefully they are, or just simply gaining new skills. it will benefit every single student. and when kids have those exciting opportunities with hands-on experience, guess what? they want to go to school. it's more exciting. it really includes everybody, every single student will
>> this is one of the handouts you guys have been giving to a lot of people. do you have meetings coming up here pretty soon? this show will air on sunday. i understand there might be some community meetings still yet to go. >> there are a number of town hall meetings. the district website, waterlooschools.org has a list of all the district town halls and presentations. i think just in the month of january alone, there are going to be 52 presentations, open meetings, discussions with neighborhood groups, with service groups as well. so there are a number of opportunities for people to get this information. if anybody has questions going through the waterloo school's website provides a lot of that information. >> i'm looking at this here. the first 15 programs on everything from automotive technology and construction technology down to marketing, all these types of things. you can look at this and just glance at that. fill me in a little bit about why these things you think will
you already have a partnership with hawkeye community college. that i assume would be a big, big benefit to both the college and to the school district. >> there are 15 programs that are going to be implemented first under this plan and then ten later and five after that. but there was a very lengthy process. this process has actually taken about four years. there have been about 100 people involved in a couple of different committees that kind of looked at high school issues and high school reform issues. but also, as the plan started to coalesce a little bit going towards these career and technical programs, a great deal of effort was put into what other communities around the country have done, around the state and around the country have done for programs for them. also tailoring it for the waterloo community school district. you'll see programs this year, as was mentioned, the automotive technology and construction but
well, education, nursing, information technology and on and on. these are careers which the cedar valley will need trained and qualified candidates for those jobs, but also it helps the students really become engaged and find careers or areas in which they're interested. to get that training no matter what they do for the rest of their lives, that training will be good, whether they go to a four-year university or they go to a community college or technical programming, whether it's one or two years. we think this really can benefit all the students in our community. >> what happens to the current curriculum? does that change at all? what happens there? this is an expansion of career and technical education, but what about the regular curriculum they've already had? we'll talk about the renovations to waterloo east and west. the regular curriculum stays the same, robert? >> students will still have -- a lot of students will still be interested in going to college.
this gives young people an opportunity who want to pick a trade. i work with a lot of individuals that want to go back to school because they didn't know what they wanted 20 years ago. >> a lifetime of education. >> exact lit. exactly. this will answer a lot of questions and that's the benefit of getting them involved early on. >> we have to take a break. our program is online at kwwl.com. we'll answer some of the questions that are in your own
we'll do tha welcome back to our second segment here on the steele report. this week we're talking about the upcoming waterloo school referendum and the way it's going to be funded by most of you out there, or a lot of you in the district. one of the questions that is on your pam fleet here, who pays -- pamphlet here, who pays the income sur tax necessary for this to go through? people get scared off by numbers when you owe $47 million. that's not a lot of money for what you're asking here. >> what we're proposing is a 4% income sur tax which the average taxpayer in the waterloo school district would pay about $53 a year with the 4% sur tax. that would be in the place for 20 years. but the sur tax is different. now, 82% of school districts in iowa utilize a sur tax for their schools. hudson, la porte city.
>> 5%. it's not something that's been in place in the waterloo schools. it's not a continual tax that goes on a person's income. what it does, at the end of the year when you pay your state income tax, it's a sur tax, additional tax based on the amount you pay to the state. under the plan as we went through the process and talking to voters and really kind of gauging reaction from voters within the waterloo school district, people liked the income sur tax plan more because it really spread out the burden and the cost. about 80% of taxpayers would pay under the income sur tax, so it just wouldn't be an addition to property taxes. again, the $53 a year for the average resident in our school district we thought was a reasonable investment for this program. >> of course it would be, you might have mentioned, the taxpayers who live with andreas that falls within the waterloo community school boundary. during the break, you were talking about one thing you like
undecided about what you wanted to do in life and you think this is a great way for people for these new offerings, technical and career offerings for a way for people to decide even before they go to college about what they want to do, right? >> yes, this will not only reduce the dropout rates but save on college costs. we know many students go to college not knowing what they want to do as a career. what happens they end up staying much longer. of course in today's environment, it also costs a lot more money. so this would allow every student to go into perhaps let's say they're interested in the medical field, to go and have those hands-on classes and those experiences that sometimes takes you, you know, a few years into college to have that experience. so that way they know that's something that they really want to do. but i've also talked to students in the des moines school
first of its kind career technical center and they realize it's not what they want to do. after a semester, they decide it's not for them and now they're going into different areas that they have some interest in. just think about what a gift that would be for our students and the parents and grandparents out there who are concerned. i mean, for them to have that hands-on experience and to go into college more prepared and me. and even if you decide it's not, that's still a great, great experience. >> so cedar falls has found out the last couple of votes, it's difficult to get that super majority of 60%. they came very close last time, less than almost 250 votes was all. so of every ten people that vote on february 2nd, you need six people to vote yes. how do you convince them this is the right thing to do? it's tough when you ask people to pay more money, there's no doubt about it. convince, robert, i'll let you start here, convince everyone
for the entire valley. >> it's interesting you say that. i remember when cell phones came out and i remember when my kids were trying to get me -- they would text me stuff. i would tell my kids, if you text me anything about asking for money, i'm going to say no because i'm not going to text. so you call me. after a while, guess what? everybody is now texting. it donned on me, i need to get on board. i was here when we passed the 1% sales tax. when we get people to understand this is the cost effective way and truly the most important thing that can happen for our young people here, i just have enough confidence in the waterloo community people here, if we do our job and get the right information to them that we have, i think people will do the right thing and help us pass this. >> of course the other part of
technical center, but waterloo east and west high schools desperately need renovations. you look at some of the properties in the des moines area, those schools are unbelievably good, most of them. waterloo east and west need these improvements. >> we need more, more improvement. one-cent sales tax is something that got us started. i believe we get an opportunity to reinnovate and get the technical aspect to the high schools, i got confidence. i know it will be tough, it always is. i think we get the right people involved like we have, i think we'll get ourselves where we need to be. >> the committee you served on i think originally had over 100 members. this is not just something that happened overnight. there's been a lot of thought and a lot of great dedication put into coming up with a plan that you feel is best for the most people and for the future of the city. >> that's exactly right.
worked for about four years on trying to find the right plan for our community. one of the reasons i think a lot of us feel so strongly about it is that we're doing a good job in our schools but there's more we can do and we can do better, with our graduation rate in particular. to be able to catch some of those students that are now dropping out, by providing them with something that engages them, that encourages them, that makes them want to go to school and also gives them skills for life is so vital. it will require money in which to do it, but we think the benefit of that, the investment in that is a very good one for our community. >> i wasn't on board -- >> at the beginning. >> no. i don't have kid in the school system. >> a lot of people are the exact same way. >> i've been off the school board for 15 years. i had several meetings with mike and a number of people. so i get why people will be
the more you understand it, the more people understand what it is, i think if we can get the information to the people, i think we can get people to understand it that this is important for us. >> the fact is, the workforce right now, there are not going to be enough skilled workers to fill these jobs. you know, we were talking -- i was talking to someone the other day, electricians in the field are going to make over $100,000. that's a pretty good salary and something you'll be able to do through this program, a waterloo student will be able to do that. you understand firsthand when haden came to talk your mom about an education-- >> that would be money well spent in this community. >> once again, how much is it going to probably cost people? you said $53? >> the average taxpayer in the waterloo school district would pay an extra $53 a year under the income sur tax. >> that's not a lot of money.
any amount, i'm not dismissing the fact that people are on incomes that they barely make it anyway. but this is something where you invest in the future. in the school district and in the administration, making the right decisions, so you're on board all the way on this. >> i am. i'm really hoping the people will say yes, it's an excellent plan that we have heard testimonies for four years. it took a lot of diverse good group of people to put this plan forth. i do think that the future of our education will move towards these models. the only other school that has this kind of a model in the state is actually des moines. they have a career technical center. i had the opportunity to visit and see firsthand. let me tell you, i was excited for it from day one, but after visiting that school and talking to students and those educators, i mean, my excitement level has
didn't think was possible. just seeing the value, every single student will benefit from this. i r rlly hope the people will say yes. we want to reduce the dropout rates and we want to reduce the crime rate. we know one way to do that is provide a good education for our students. >> we'll take one more break and come back with dr. jane lindaman from the waterloo schools. mike, robert and an niece, thank you very much for vote on the committee. you have to get people out there and vote. in your case, you want them to vote yes. >> we do. >> thank you.
break and come back in jus welcome back to our final segment this week for the steele report. we're talking about the upcoming waterloo school's very important vote. talking with dr. jane lindaman, superintendent of schools. if it's passed on february 2nd, it would build the new career and technical education center which would be located by central middle school and also provide renovations,
waterloo east and west. and also the entity of this, dr. lindaman, i think people need to know, there are a lot of businesses in support of this because there will be great partnerships. >> in addition to sharing the message with parents and the general community, we've also been talking with businesses quite a bit. it makes a lot of sense for them. they want to help the schools do better, but we have been very clear what we're going to need from them. it is going to be -- there's going to be a need for a sustainable partnership. so we've been asking them and sharing the career areas, the 30 career areas and looking for natural partners for each of those 30 career areas. so i think that's really exciting. there aren't very many people who are confused by it. there aren't very many people who don't support it. the businesses, it's a great thing. >> you have three town hall meetings coming up just this week. >> we do.
here is your opportunity to ask your questions, decide how you feel about this. the fact is, it's very important for people who live inside the boundaries of the waterloo school district to vote on the day after the caucuses which will be on a tuesday, february 2nd. where are the meetings? >> we've been transparent. we have the three town halls on tuesday night, center of the arts 7:00. pane ame and bunker middle school at 9:00 in the morning. >> that's a great opportunity for everybody. >> it is. they'll have a chance to hear more about the proposal and to ask questions. i'll be there but we have people from the committee, students, teachers so there will be a good too dialogue. >> what are you hearing? on a vote that requires the always difficult 60% super majority, what kind of questions are you getting? what is your kind of gut feeling within the community?
lot of positive comments which is really great. i would say most of the concerns come from either misinformation or just needing more information. there are a lot of questions about the partnership with hawkeye and does hawkeye support this? does it take business away from them? hawkeye community college and university of northern iowa have been very clear this will only enhance their ability to serve students, boost their enrollment. so it's a good thing. >> this serves, the way the job market is going, career and technical education is absolutely a vital link to the future. i guess the words you use in your pamphlets, a gateway to success. >> we've used that phrase because it shares the message, these students who take these programs, it doesn't necessarily they're going to go to a one-year, hawkeye. it doesn't necessarily mean
if someone takes a career pathway, they may seek engineering or they may look at general contracting. they can do whatever they want, construction management, architect. they can do anything. it's a gateway to all careers. >> don't you feel this will be a model, the waterloo community college will serve as a model for perhaps thousands of districts across the country. >> iowa is a little bit behind in this area. many states have surpassed us in that area. the state luckily has realized that and they've had a task force and they released their report and it did mimic, they're encouraging districts to explore it. we're just a little bit ahead and that's a good place to be. >> you can vote right now by absentee ballot. you don't have to vote on the actual day of the referendum, february 2nd. you probably had votes come in already. we don't know the results obviously. >> of course. we're telling people, with he know iowa winters can be tough and unpredictable.