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McCourt going for third defeat of school levy (VIDEO)



This news story was published on May 17, 2013.
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Jack McCourt believes that due to significant drop in school enrollment in Mason City, no levy is needed

Jack McCourt believes that due to significant drop in school enrollment in Mason City, no levy is needed

MASON CITY – Jack McCourt wants one more victory.

After spearheading a petition drive last month that garnered about 1,100 signatures that forced the Mason City School Board to hold a vote on a proposed Instructional Support Levy (ISL), McCourt is now focused on the vote itself.

“They want more more more,” McCourt said Thursday of the school district, referring to funding.  McCourt has already lead two campaigns against new taxes from the school district.  The ISL was approved by the school board and would have been final.  Only due to McCourt’s petition drive will the voters make the ultimate decision.

School board member Tim Becker called citizens who signed the petition “obstructionists.”

“The poor and the elderly can’t shoulder the burden,” McCourt said.  “And that’s who this falls on.  And once this levy is in place, it’s not for five years.  It’s forever.”

School district officials claim that Mason City is the only size 4A school with no ISL.  The district made a public display this month of cutting teacher contracts and threatened to cut coaches as well, which brought out a large crowd against that move.  State funding cuts have diminished dollars to all school districts in Iowa, further necessitating cuts to personnel until the state decides how much funding it will provide.

McCourt also claims that Mason City once had 8,000 students in its school district.  Now the number is about 3,700.

The school district has not definitively set a date for the ISL vote; the school board regular election, which has four seats up for grabs, will be held September 10th.  The vote on the ISL could be on September 10th or set on a different date.

Watch video:

httpv://youtu.be/NufuH7GuwR8

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53 Responses to McCourt going for third defeat of school levy (VIDEO)

  1. FUBAR Reply Report comment

    May 21, 2013 at 11:52 am

    DID YOUSEE THE RAISE??? BROKE MY ASS, I WORKED 30 YEARS AND NEVER GOT A RAISE THAT BIG AT ONE TIME, TIME TO BUST THAT UNIONS ASS AND FIRE MICICH, BROKE AND WANT US TO VOTE FOR THE LEVY, WHAT A GOT DAM SHAME

  2. Observer Reply Report comment

    May 18, 2013 at 8:33 am

    “Cut them back to the amount of money spent 20 years ago? That is what you seem to expect.”

    That is not what I expect at all.

    Unless one lives under a rock, the fact is painfully thrust upon us on a daily basis that the cost of things go up. But so has property values, by which one supports things like police and education. And since those values have increased on the average of $30,000 in nine years* (2000-2009), revenue based upon property has also followed the trend.

    Thus the current $8,034 per pupil reflects those increases (in 2000, it was $5,122).** So comments are not about going back to the funding levels of 20 years ago.

    The expectation, especially in older folk is that students today should equal or exceed the level of attainment in skills and literacy which were required of us. We do not see that happening for a myriad of reasons. Pop Culture being one of them. Second is curriculum, and third parental involvement. For decades, we have read about why Johnny cannot read. Why Suzie needs a calculator or other electronic device to figure out change from 85 cents. Why kids have no basis of concepts that were common 40 to 60 years ago in schools.

    It is also not hard to grasp that the requirements of newer skills are needed for today’s job markets. Yet they are the same challenges kids faced for years, learning something new. Be it calculus, fuel injection, Fortran, or Windows 8. One still needs the basics to function at all in order to succeed, I don’t care if it is in 1960 or 2013. Such results of an educational process are not unreasonable.

    Now then, declining enrollment. If there are fewer pupils to teach, it’s common sense that the overall cost should be less. Large systems like Chicago Public Schools understand this, and are closing 61 buildings. Yet with equal rates of declining enrollment, we build new and expand. (The rational behind this is better suited for other conversations)

    The local economy has shrunk. Income levels are static overall. Common sense says, if there is no new income in the private economy, there cannot be increased tax revenues. People can and will seek alternative communities where a more reasonable system exists, where frugality and good stewardship are practiced. And that puts further pressure on the low or limited income residents who remain.***

    *City-Data on average home/condo values in Mason City, Iowa.
    ** data from Iowa Department of Management.
    *** U.S. Census data on incomes in Mason City, Iowa from 2000 to 2012.

    • LVS Reply Report comment

      May 18, 2013 at 9:11 am

      @Observer-I have a relative that was a four year honor student at Mason City High and she can not tell time with a clock unless it is digital. She was never taught. She also has trouble writing or reading anything that is not printed and does not have a clue on how to measure anything. She was never taught the basics. It makes you wonder what the honor was for and just where your tax money is going. As I always say, what do you do when the power goes out?

      • Anonymous Reply Report comment

        May 18, 2013 at 6:15 pm

        LVS… you exagerate. Exageration is the same as a lie. Are you a politician?

        • LVS Reply Report comment

          May 18, 2013 at 7:25 pm

          @Anonymous-it is NOT a lie. It is the truth. You don’t know her so you are trying your best to misdirect again. I also saw it time and time again in the shop. Kids would come to work there and didn’t know how to convert fractions to decimals and visa versa. They couldn’t do simple math with out a calculator and they couldn’t even read a tape measure. What kind of schools don’t teach the basics?

  3. Garden Plots Reply Report comment

    May 17, 2013 at 7:23 pm

    Remember Sept 16, 2003 – The Clergy and Educators of Cerro Gordo County mounted a campaign against having a Casino in this county and they succeeded. Now Worth County has the Cash Cow that contributes a lot of $ to Northwood School System. If the MC School Board and Administration would have pushed as hard for the Casino as they have for the Tax Levy it would have passed by a land slide. Unfortunately you all had tunnel vision and missed the boat and now the 4,667 No Voters for the Casino should step up and bail you out.

    • Matt Marquardt Reply Report comment

      May 17, 2013 at 8:24 pm

      I agree 100% with this. Excellent post. Now Northwood and Worth County are fighting over the millions they pull in at their casino. Diamond Jo is gearing up for more development. Wait till a shopping center is there. Indianhead will have more dead storefronts. No leader ever stood up and fought for this in Mason City. They let a few bully the rest. Now we need to raise taxes to cover our schools. Endless spiral down until people wake up.

      • LBS Reply Report comment

        May 17, 2013 at 10:26 pm

        Casino’s are chicken feed compared to medical marijuana, but a small vocal minority of churchies will shoot that one down as well.

      • concerned Reply Report comment

        May 20, 2013 at 4:18 pm

        You speak the truth.

  4. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    May 17, 2013 at 6:30 pm

    The majority of you old people have used way more benefits than you ever paid in. So get off the fiscal responsibility kick.

    • seriously? Reply Report comment

      May 17, 2013 at 6:38 pm

      NOT true at all. Maybe true for the first generation of SS recipients, but they are all gone now. These are folks over 50 when SS started. Everyone in the system today paid in and furthermore it’s doubtful of those under 40 today will receive anything.

      Saying WE deserve free gubment money because you got it doesn’t cut it.

    • Observer Reply Report comment

      May 18, 2013 at 6:02 pm

      “The majority of you old people have used way more benefits than you ever paid in.”

      Sorry old sock, am not in your SS system. None of the benefits I get you paid for.

    • LVS Reply Report comment

      May 18, 2013 at 7:27 pm

      @Anonymous-who ever told you that? There you go again with your lies and misdirection. The staff at S.S. told both my wife and I that we would never get our money back out of S.S. Don’t make up things that you know nothing about.

  5. Observer Reply Report comment

    May 17, 2013 at 5:06 pm

    “What’s wrong with MC is all the backward thinking old people.”

    Old people believe in fiscal responsibility. Some hail back to the time when parents taught frugality, because they knew sacrifice during the Great Depression.

    When enrollment continues to decline, there should be a corresponding declines in cost. When results do not meet expectations, continuing to pouring money into that system make no sense.

    Would you continue to pay money to a contractor when your plumbing never works, no matter how long he works on it?

    • vote yes Reply Report comment

      May 17, 2013 at 6:15 pm

      can you say “cost of living”? Everything is going up and that includes the cost of a good education. The same good education your parents and grandparents paid for through taxes. Well now its your turn to help out the kids of Mason City. You people need to get real.

      • bodacious Reply Report comment

        May 17, 2013 at 6:24 pm

        @vote yes – Cost of living means little to people until it hits their pocketbook. You are absolutely right in stating the costs of EVERYTHING is going up. Been to the gas station recently Observer? Back when we were in school, gas was about 30 cents a gallon and the only kids who rode a bus, lived in the country. Now, school buses cover the city and county. How is that increase in costs covered? The cost of water, supplies, text books, paper and a multitude of other items essential to running a school have all increased dramatically. And, so has the cost of instruction. Would you say the same thing about the fire department or police department? Cut them back to the amount of money spent 20 years ago? That is what you seem to expect.

        • LBS Reply Report comment

          May 17, 2013 at 10:29 pm

          We spend 4 times more than we did in the 70’s for half the students. That’s gone up FAR more than the cost of living.

  6. rukidding Reply Report comment

    May 17, 2013 at 5:04 pm

    I will be voting no and most people I have talked to will also. Teachers aren’t the problem but we feel that the administrators are well over paid and there are too many of them. Bring in good paying jobs then the working people in Mason City will support this.

  7. bodacious Reply Report comment

    May 17, 2013 at 3:22 pm

    Have any of you any real data on those ‘outrageous’ salaries MC teachers receive? Try this website and look at different profession in Mason City and look at the salary ranges for managers, or IT people or physicians. You might be surprised. Of course, when you compare their salaries to counter people at McDonalds, they make more.
    http://primaryschoolteachersalary.com/other_professions.php

    • Calvin R. Reply Report comment

      May 17, 2013 at 3:24 pm

      You also have to consider the fact that it is a part time job.

      • LBS Reply Report comment

        May 17, 2013 at 3:31 pm

        The fact they get 4 months off doesn’t matter..haha!

        comparing their salaries to doctors and it managers and ceo’s why it looks average! HAhahahahah!~

        That’s funny.

        • Flabersham Reply Report comment

          May 18, 2013 at 4:46 pm

          They get out June 7th this year and go back in August. That is hardly 4 months. Maybe you took Math when there was even less money for the district!!
          And, most teachers I know, my husband included, go to school around 7:00 come home between 4:30 and 5:00 and then work on projects, tests, lesson plans, and other related things. They don’t have breaks, except eating a 20 minute lunch – lots of time with the kids. And, get paid less than the guy on the line at a manufacturing plant, who does not require any education past a HS diploma or a GED. You have to be educated to be a teacher!!! Also, adults who go back to school to teach are still paying off student loans in their fifties..

          Teachers are very underpaid for the jobs they do and the education they must have continue to have to keep up with the trends.

          And, the levy is not for teacher salaries. Get the facts before u listen to the naysayer Jack McCourt. It is evident by listening to him that he must have left school early. Not a bright man. And, to keep playing the old people card. I know very few old people that don’t have money coming out of their wazoo!!!! Much more money than those who are working everyday.

          Teachers rule!!!!!!!

    • seriously? Reply Report comment

      May 17, 2013 at 4:35 pm

      Have you ever seen how much Bill Gates makes? Well compared to him teachers don’t do all that well, I’m just saying.

    • bodacious Reply Report comment

      May 17, 2013 at 6:15 pm

      First off, LBS, I thought from earlier posts on different subjects that you had some common sense and didn’t quote wildly inaccurate information to make your point. I know plenty of teachers and don’t know a single one who gets four months off. You also apparently didn’t go to the site and look at what it says. IT workers not IT managers, no CEOs mentioned – managers. I now know what the BS after the L stands for in your name. I also thought you must be related to LVS but he at least would investigate rather than spout nonsense.

      • seriously? Reply Report comment

        May 17, 2013 at 6:44 pm

        Again FALSE and misleading. They get 3 months in the summer and a month that others don’t get. They get big spring breaks, holidays and christmas vacations which are not part most other jobs. Who do you know who gets two weeks in the spring and two weeks at Christmas and every holiday off besides teachers?

        Teachers and administrators make boo coo bucks, for little work. LIKE SCOTT WARREN used to say, he’s a teacher for 3 reasons, June, July and August.

        • bodacious Reply Report comment

          May 18, 2013 at 10:17 am

          Seriously – you are the one who is false and misleading. Just checked the MC schools calendar. Your 2 weeks at Christmas is December 24-31, Last time I checked, that was one week including Christmas day. Spring break March 11-15, that is 5 days, not 2 weeks. Thanksgiving Nov. 21-23 including Thanksgiving day. Labor Day, Memorial Day – holidays that almost all businesses close down except convenience stores. Start August 24, done June 4th. That, of course, doesn’t include any summer classes or work for the next year they choose to do. Granted, there are some who take advantage of that, but there are workers in any profession who take advantage when they can. There are also teachers who don’t do much in classroom. But, to say all administrators and teachers are overpaid and do little work, is a sign of your own ignorance and jealousy.

      • LVS Reply Report comment

        May 18, 2013 at 3:14 pm

        @bodacious-LBS is no relation of mine and if she was I would have disowned her years ago. Tonya AKA BrickforBrains, AKA LBS is just another stoner> And depending on how much smoke she has had that day depends on how much sense she makes.

    • bodacious Reply Report comment

      May 17, 2013 at 6:15 pm

      First off, LBS, I thought from earlier posts on different subjects that you had some common sense and didn’t quote wildly inaccurate information to make your point. I know plenty of teachers and don’t know a single one who gets four months off. You also apparently didn’t go to the site and look at what it says. IT workers not IT managers, no CEOs mentioned – managers. I now know what the BS after the L stands for in your name. I also thought you must be related to LVS but he at least would investigate rather than spout nonsense.

  8. LBS Reply Report comment

    May 17, 2013 at 2:30 pm

    Of course Jack is right, but all teachers have to do is mention the magic word “precious” and you all zone out into a trance while reaching into your bank accounts and giving money to the school system.

    If I call your child precious will you give me more money?

  9. LBS Reply Report comment

    May 17, 2013 at 2:27 pm

    Jack we all this money is for teachers, not for kids. All Scott Warren has to do is call your kid “precious” and they melt like the witch in Wizard of Oz.

  10. FUBAR Reply Report comment

    May 17, 2013 at 2:25 pm

    Jack will go on the attack, after he reads the comments from concerned and Mason. You guys must be school employees cause there arent many in favor of this vote.

    • Concerned Citizen Reply Report comment

      May 17, 2013 at 4:43 pm

      Not employed by the schools. Just think we should not take shortcuts with our future & kids are our future. Vote Yes

  11. LBS Reply Report comment

    May 17, 2013 at 2:25 pm

    Half the kids in the schools system get free lunch because mommy and and daddy are poor.

    If we don’t pay raises every year and spend big money on teachers, these poor kids won’t be able to succeed.

    WE spend 4 times more than we did in the 70’s for half the kids, but back them half weren’t poor “tards”.

    LOL

    • Mason Cityan Reply Report comment

      May 17, 2013 at 3:00 pm

      @LBS..Mason City has so many kids at or below the poverty level due to this town lacking jobs that require much if any skills that their parents can work at. Low skilled jobs=low pay. It’s called generational poverty. Pretty difficult to get out of poverty if you don’t possess an education or skills that will help pull you out of that cycle. This is just another reason MC needs the ISL. Plus, with open enrollment, parents that do care will opt out to send their children to a district that is more progress and proactive.

      In my opinion, this town is just becoming a retiree town. Our youths don’t seem to have much chance in this town. It’s just too old and set in its way.

      • LBS Reply Report comment

        May 17, 2013 at 3:28 pm

        The answer is NOT to give a teacher that makes $70,000 for 8 months of work MORE money.

        Are you insane?

  12. Mason Cityan Reply Report comment

    May 17, 2013 at 1:14 pm

    I’m voting yes! Does anyone know if there’s a group formed in support of the ISL?? Please post if you do. Thanks

    • vote yes Reply Report comment

      May 17, 2013 at 2:52 pm

      I’m voting yes. What’s wrong with MC is all the backward thinking old people. Anything new, different, or better they are against. If new businesses that maybe interested in relocating here read these blogs they will all be chased away. You need good schools, good parks, and good citizens willing to invest in the city and its future to attract good jobs. Mason City has to many losers to have much of a future.

      • LBS Reply Report comment

        May 17, 2013 at 2:59 pm

        Well there you have it! You WON’t have JOBS if you don’t give the school system more money!

        The more money we spend on teachers, the more jobs that magically appear around town. It’s so easy when you understand the economy. People don’t move here for WORK at all, they move to areas with high property tax. They want to make sure their poor kids get the best education. They move to where the education is, the same way George Hamilton moves to where the sun is.

        Everyone is a millionaire who moves to where the school system is best.

        It’s so easy. More money to teachers = smarter kids. Intelligence must not be inherited at all, it must be leaned and learned from teachers who get be raises.

        It’s so easy when you graduation from this system. The math is pure. More $$$$ to teachers = smarter kids.

        And those kids are precious. Now somebody shoot me!

      • LVS Reply Report comment

        May 17, 2013 at 3:00 pm

        @vote yes-If you feel that way, why don’t you leave this town of losers? You can feel free to donate all the money you want to those overpaid underachievers but I won’t.

        • LBS Reply Report comment

          May 17, 2013 at 3:23 pm

          You seriously can’t tell sarcasm when you see it?

        • Just My Opinion Reply Report comment

          May 17, 2013 at 5:18 pm

          Where’ve you been? No, he can’t. Just be happy he didn’t call you a name.

        • LVS Reply Report comment

          May 17, 2013 at 5:50 pm

          @LBS-hey there Tonya-were you talking to me. If so you had better re-read “vote yes” posts. Put down the weed and concentrate.

  13. Concerned Citizen Reply Report comment

    May 17, 2013 at 1:07 pm

    Vote Yes & give our kids the best education we can. Don’t take short cuts with our kids, they are out future! Join me in voting Yes.

    • Watchdog Reply Report comment

      May 18, 2013 at 9:06 am

      Money does not guarantee the kids a quality education.

      The Proof:

      We constantly give the Schools more and more money and Basic Skills scores declined.

      • Concerned Citizen Reply Report comment

        May 18, 2013 at 10:51 am

        I agree, more money does not garentee a good education but I would think that not enough money would garentee a bad education. I just don’t think we should cut corners with our school system.

  14. FUBAR Reply Report comment

    May 17, 2013 at 1:03 pm

    As Ive read before and you administrators and teachers with your higher education has to understand what is being ASKED of you guys. For every 10k you make you take a 1% wage FREEZE. Its so simple a cave man can figure it out. A 3 year teacher making 40k would take a 4% FREEZE an administrator making 125k would take a 12.5% FREEZE. Do this for a year and see how much the district would save. Also no paras,cooks,or custodians or office workers as they get payed like crap anyways. Give up some and just maybe us common folk will vote yes next year. NO PAYFREEZE NO YES VOTE

  15. sad but true Reply Report comment

    May 17, 2013 at 11:49 am

    It is not just the old people, most citizens of Mason City have been forced to give up WAGES & BENEFITS in the last 5 to 10 years. At the same time, you see the wages at the school system getting higher, and higher, and higher. Never a freeze, never a cut. Show us you are in trouble, stand up to the teachers and unions. Show us a wage FREEZE for one year. Force your employees to pay for some of their heathcare.
    Show me you understand, and I will change my vote, tell I see that, NO WAY

    • Hildy Reply Report comment

      May 17, 2013 at 2:57 pm

      Well it’s a good thing Jack did all the work on the petition so you would even get a chance to vote no. Otherwise, the school board was set to ram this down your tight, virgin throat.

  16. common sense man Reply Report comment

    May 17, 2013 at 10:13 am

    My suggestion is this. If you want to keep all the coaches that are going to be cut…to not cut teachers contracts…and in general provide what the school board sees as a better education and facility to learn in…then its quite simple.

    If you have kids that go to school there, play sports there, are in any extra programs, pay for it yourself! Do not tax the older folks and lower income people. You want more coaches then write a check to keep them. When your kid graduates stop writing the check if you want. Do not force people to pay for something they do not want.

    As far as the teachers go. Take some responsability! If you want something new or upgraded, dont take the pay raise…use that money to pay for those things.

    In other words vote NO!

    • LVS Reply Report comment

      May 17, 2013 at 10:43 am

      @common sense man-now that is real COMMON SENSE. But being common sense means the special interest will not do it.

  17. TheRealFred Reply Report comment

    May 17, 2013 at 10:05 am

    Outrageous salaries paid by MC schools has put them in the position they are in. They’ve no one to blame but themselves.

    Will be interesting to watch the pity party and whoa is us tactics they throw at the public over the summer.

  18. LVS Reply Report comment

    May 17, 2013 at 9:54 am

    Vote NO. They need to learn to live within their means just like everyone else does. Less students=Less MONEY needed. Not more. VOTE NO.