Senate Democratic Leader Mike Gronstal says his generation has done a poor job at ensuring Iowa’s school buildings are ship-shape. "When I was 14 years old they put a couple of portable classrooms at Gunn Elementary School in Council Bluffs. Temporary. They’re still there from 1964 — portable classrooms," Gronstal says. "That’s unacceptable."
Gronstal predicts legislators will come up with a solution this year. "The Baby Boom generation has done the worst job in the history of the state in terms of providing school buildings for their kids," Gronstal says. "…I think that’s unfortunate, so I’m very committed to trying to get an on-going, long-term effort to maintain local school infrastructure."
Voters in each of Iowa’s 99 counties have approved local option sales taxes to finance school infrastructure projects. Gronstal predicts the 2008 legislature will vote to make that one-percent local option sales taxes permanent, statewide, ’til 2029, with the proceeds distributed to school districts on a per student basis. Gronstal says the money would be dedicated to either school building construction and renovation, or property tax relief. Gronstal made his comments this weekend on Iowa Public Television.