Iowa City Community School District’s (ICCSD’s) administration has rejected the need for a Board Facilities Advisory Committee to oversee its building projects; however, if the ICCSD board insists upon creating one, the administration has already identified potential members, defined the Committee’s role, and suggested meetings of only once or twice a year. Since a committee comprised of members hand-picked by the administration would not be independent of the administration, the purpose of having such a board committee would be defeated–it’s like shooting the horse before it leaves the gate. Oddly, none of the categories of proposed members the administration proffers as members appear to be people with practical construction experience.
An ICCSD Board Facilities Advisory Committee that is independent of ICCSD administration (or a Construction Oversight Committe) would be good for the district, and if properly implemented, could 1) get more community members involved in supporting the district, and 2) help reassure the voting public that ICCSD is on track when it comes to its building projects. Last week was Sunshine Week–the ICCSD board should promote open government and transparency by creating an independent Facilities Advisory Committee.
Ironically, the administration’s rejection of a Facilities Advisory Committee comes at the same time ICCSD’s superintendent is asking the ICCSD board to approve spending in excess of $100,000 on ThoughtExchange to engage the community and build trust. Why not start engaging the community and building trust by creating a Facilities Advisory Committee that reports directly to the entire board and is open to the public? After all, if the facilities plan is “on time and on budget,” there should be nothing to hide.