IWCC Bond issue passes; Riverside Bond issue fails again


December 5th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

A $22.5-million dollar bond issue for Iowa Western Community College was approved by the voters during a special election held Tuesday in 13 southwest Iowa counties, but a separate $14.3-million dollar bond issue for the Riverside Community School District narrowly missed achieving the necessary super majority of the votes needed for passage. According to unofficial results, the IWCC bond issue received 76.4-percent of the total votes cast in favor of the measure. A 60-percent super majority was needed. 4,511 people voted in favor of the measure, while 1,395 voted against it. In the Riverside District, unofficial results from the Pottawattamie County Auditor’s Office show the bond issue receiving 59 percent of the vote–941 yes to 649 no. Again, a 60 percent supermajority was necessary in order for the bond issue to pass.

School officials seemed confident one-day before the vote the issue would pass. Had it been approved, it would have paid for the  construction of a new 7th through 12th grade not far from the intersection of Highways 6 and 59. The revised plan called for both the elementary building in Oakland and the middle school in Carson to be retained, but with a grade reconfiguration for both buildings. It was the third time a bond issue referendum failed before the voters in the Riverside District.

As for the IWCC bond issue, it’s approval, according to school officials, means a decrease of 10 cents per one thousand dollars taxable valuation in the portion of property taxes residents pay into the school. The Early Retirement and Debt Service levies at the school will both see significant declines in the next fiscal year of $0.18 per $1,000 of taxable value. Iowa Western President Dan Kinney said the bond funds would be used to create lab space for the new Physical Therapy Assistant Program, and the necessary space for a Robotics Technology Program on the Council Bluffs campus. It also provides more classrooms and lab space for the school’s culinary arts and diesel technology programs in Council Bluffs.

At the Harlan campus, the college plans to build an addition to the Shelby County Center with the bond to provide space for additional science and math classrooms. It also plans to create a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Academy in the space to work with area high schools and business and industry leaders.

In Atlantic, money from the bonds will provide additional space and high-speed Internet connectivity for interactive classrooms to help the Design Technology program to grow and provide graduates with the computer skills needed by manufacturers. In Cass County, the Iowa Western bond issue garnered 386 “Yes” votes, and 74 “No” Votes. Not surprisingly, a majority of the votes cast were in the two precincts found in Atlantic.