The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

December 19, 2013

Special requests concern CCDA

By Katie Dahlstrom Herald Assistant Editor
The Clinton Herald

---- — CLINTON — The Clinton County Development Association will consider a moratorium on special funding requests, the group decided after it received two such requests during its monthly meeting.

During the board's meeting Wednesday morning, Camanche Superintendent Tom Parker and Clinton School District Superintendent Deb Olson made special requests to fund school projects outside of the normal fund A or B grants.

"I think we need to think about whether we need to eliminate special appeals," CCDA Chairman Tom Fullerton said after both superintendents had presented.

Parker asked the board to fund 75 percent of the roughly $232,000 to replace the bleachers on the visitors' side of the football field and new lighting for the field. Both items, which have been in place since the 1960s, are safety hazards, Parker told CCDA members.

He went on to explain the difficulties in securing funding for the projects from the community or athletic booster club. Camanche School Board member Dan Srp added the booster club is focusing on a wrestling room for the middle school.

If the district found the funding, Parker would like to complete the project by next fall.

Olson asked the board to help furnish the new middle school, which is expected to open next fall. Because the school board decided to add four classrooms to ensure the building will house sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade students, the district is in a financial pinch for $850,000 in furnishings. She explained the district has used all of its local option sales tax money through 2029 to pay for the $21 million school.

The district could use furnishings from Lyons and Washington middle schools, but those items are "pretty old," Olson said.

The Central Clinton School District is also expected to make a special request in the coming months, CCDA Director Matt Stammeyer told fellow directors.

Around $500,000 should be available in each of the two funding pools. Fund A project applications are due in April and can be funded up to $150,000 at a 50 percent match of the total cost. Fund B grants are up to $75,000 at a 25 percent match of the total cost, with applications due in July.

CCDA Director Alice Schnepel suggested if the board was going to draw a line on special requests it should not exclude the Camanche request.

"I think if we're going to look at a school, we need to look at Camanche," Schnepel said.

According to information that was distributed to board members about the last seven years of funding, Camanche has received $95,000 while the CCDA has poured more than $615,000 into the Clinton School District (not including what was given to the Restoring Royalty campaign). The Central Clinton School District has received $735,000 in the last seven years while the Northeast School District saw more than $270,000.

Directors agreed to form a subcommittee to examine closing the door on special requests and will report back to the full CCDA board during its January meeting.