Superintendents and school board members from around the state were at the Iowa capitol today, urging legislators to pass a statewide, one-cent sales tax to support schools. Nineteen Iowa counties already collect a one-cent local option tax and the proposal would extend it to the other 80. Steve Kenkel, a Harlan school board member, personally lobbied six House members. He says the governor and legislators say education, fairness for all and property tax relief are priorities. He says they can address all three with the tax issue.The Iowa House discussed the proposal today, but it was never put to a vote as a majority will not support it.Oelwein superintendent Kent Mutchler says school districts in the 19 counties that have local option sales taxes are better off than those in the 80 other counties. He says students in Oelwein should benefit from the taxes paid in larger hub cities by Oelwein district residents.Ankeny superintendent Ben Norman leads a school that gets local option sales tax revenue from Polk County, but he has supported a statewide sales tax for schools for six years. Norman says it’s a better way to fund schools and better than other options.Norman says the current system where schools in the state’s largest counties benefit from the local option sales tax has created “haves and have-nots” among Iowa’s schools.
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