Waterloo educators review Des Moines Career Center - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Waterloo educators review Des Moines Career Center

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With the help of taxpayers, Waterloo Schools hopes to move forward with a new $35 million Career Center with an additional $12 million for renovations to East and West High Schools.

The District will coordinate the resources needed to pay for the project and laid out in this proposal.

After nearly three years of researching where to build it, how to pay for it, and reviewing similar models - educators say they now have a plan that makes sense for everyone.

Waterloo educators toured the Des Moines Central Campus Career Center to understand if a similar model would work in Black Hawk County, because Waterloo educators say they're looking for a better way to prepare students after high school that doesn't put all the cost on property owners.

Educators are proposing an income surtax, where an additional percentage amount will be added to the individual Iowa-state income tax owed every year.

The income surtax would transfer cost form the property owners to all individuals who pay Iowa income taxes.

It is a percentage applied to the amount owed to the state, not on the income earned.

After reviewing the Des Moines campus, Waterloo educators believe a similar model would work in Waterloo.

Des Moines' Central Campus looks like any other high school, but educators say it's very different.

"It's exciting, it's innovative, it's creative, it's one of a kind; but they also receive dual-college credits," Assistant Director, Aiddy Phomvisay said.

He says high school students can elect to study several courses like photography, marine biology, or even review the medical field.

"It's nice to have experiences like this that'll carry you through med school, when you don't know you can make it. I feel like having experiences like this will help you reflect on it, and really want this," Senior Des Moines East High School student, Veronica Smith said.

Smith said the hands-on experience helps her retain more than she would learn in a traditional classroom.

"I know college students who even haven't had opportunities like I have," Smith said.

"When they're out there, and they're seeing a vaginal birth, they're seeing an open-heart surgery, they're seeing a trauma come into the emergency room their eyes are open, and the excitement they have is hands down, the best part," Health Instructor, Jenna Eppert said.

Perhaps the Grand Daddy of them all is the Marine Biology program.

With a waiting list ever year, educators say students can't wait to take the course every semester.

"We see this as a value-added program. The programs for our students to learn here life-changing. Second, they immediately add value to the surrounding businesses and industries that are in great demand," Aiddy Phomvisay said.

According to Des Moines educators, several high school seniors graduate from Central Campus, and they are classified as Juniors in college without spending money on tuition.

If Waterloo taxpayers approve a similar model, the building would break ground on land the district already owns near Central Middle School.

Local voters will decide whether to move forward with the project, by casting ballots February 2nd.

If approved, the district would also add air-conditioning systems to East and West High Schools.

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