A citizens’ committee of Waterloo residents has formed in support of the Waterloo Schools plan to build a career center and renovate East and West High Schools.

Mike Young, Robert Smith and Anesa Kajtazovic were announced as co-chairs of the "Vote Yes" committee on Monday (Dec. 21, 2015). The trio is heading up a group committed to supporting the $47 million bond voters will consider February 2 in a special election. If approved, the measure would build a career center near Central Middle School and pay for renovations at the two high schools.

“I think (the plan) provides the best and most broad options for our community's children, including my own three elementary-aged kids," said Young, a Waterloo attorney and former school board president. "Serving on the school board, I was involved in the nearly four-year process to determine the best course of action to better serve all students in the district. Career and technical education is a proven way to achieve higher graduation rates and post-secondary success for our young people.”

The estimated cost to build the proposed Career Technical Education Center is $35 million. The remaining $12 million — divided equally — would be used for the planned renovations at East and West High.

“The Waterloo Community School district is pursuing a unique funding structure for the bond," said Smith, a UNI program director and college football official who also served on the school board. "While this bond referendum will be funded through property taxes, they plan to offset that amount by shifting an equal portion of dollars out of property tax to income surtax. The end result is that property owners will not see an increase in the property tax.”

Kajtazovic is a former state legislator who now leads a local agency serving Waterloo families.

“The decision to be part of this initiative wasn't taken lightly," she said. "After studying the proposal, much research and many meetings, I am honored to be part of this team. The Waterloo Tech Center is needed. This will reduce dropout rates, save on college costs and provide more opportunities for our students. When our students succeed, we all succeed."

The referendum requires 60-percent voter approval to pass.

Among the list of numerous community supporters of the proposal:

Jerome Amos - Mary Anne Burk - Buck Clark - Lisa Connor - Steve Dust - Bryan Earnest - Doug Faas - Abraham Funchess - Geof & Vicki Grimes - Quentin Hart - Blake & Sally Hollis - Don & Donna Huff - Tim Hurley - Bill Kammeyer - Rose Middleton - Leon Mosley - Chuck Rowe - Mark Stuenkel - Tom Taylor - Tony Thompson - Dan Trelka - Ellen Vanderloo - Anna Mae Weems - Ron Welper - Bette Wubbena


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