How to pay for Waterloo Career Center - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

How to pay for Waterloo Career Center

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Educators and experts call it the best way to move forward with the new proposed Waterloo Career Center, and it will also improve West and East High School buildings.

A committee of community members and educators have been researching the project for years, and they even visited the Des Moines Central Campus in December to see whether a similar model would work in the Cedar Valley.

Typically, school districts rely on property owners to pay for projects through bonds, but educators say an income surtax takes the burden off them.

After doing the math, experts say it's cheaper than your average trip to the store.

At nearly $35 million, the Waterloo School District hopes to pay for a new Career Center with a four percent income surtax.

The price tag might sound hefty, but four percent of your annual state taxes turns out to be less than what most people pay for a few snacks during a trip to the store.

Waterloo Schools Chief Financial Officer Michael Coughlin said, "It spreads it across, and instead of the burden being directly added to property owners, it goes to everyone who pays in to state income tax."

Educators and experts say paying for a new Waterloo Career Center would be cheaper than buying spiral notebooks and a couple of markers every month.

Crystal Buzz with Waterloo Schools said the surtax would cost the average Waterloo worker less than $55 a year, and it would benefit everyone in the long run.

"We know for every student who doesn't drop out, that saves all taxpayers money. It saves our economy, and it gives us a better workforce too," Buzza said.

Buzza said it creates a win-win situation, and she's proud to be apart of the success.

"Knowing that you're doing something that won't only change the future for my own children, but for every child I see whenever I go in to the grocery store or the gas station, I know that what I'm doing is going to change their future and the future of this community. So, for me, it's just a great feeling," Buzza said.

Not only is the district hoping to pay for the new career center with the proposed income surtax, but $12 million of the total $47 million is earmarked to improve East and West High Schools.

Organizers remind voters the surtax relies on what you owe the state every year.

So, for people on a fixed income, regardless if they own property, the cost would be much less.

Voters will decided whether to move forward with the project February 2.


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