The Iowa Association of School Boards is calling for a statewide, one-cent sales tax dedicated to school building construction and renovation. Margaret Buckton, the Association’s policy director, says it’s the best way to fix crumbling schools. Buckton says 65 percent of retail sales in Iowa are already subject to a local option sales tax that goes for school improvement projects. Extending the tax statewide would ensure the proceeds are spread statewide rather than what’s happening today, with rural schools without the local option sales tax revenues falling farther behind. Buckton says research shows school buildings matter in student achievement.Buckton says absenteeism is higher in older schools than in new schools. One-hundred-70 school districts have threatened to sue the state if something’s not done to help smaller schools meet their building needs. Buckton spoke yesterday to the Iowa House and Senate’s Education Committees.