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Alliance & Chamber Supports Cedar Falls Facilities Plan Bond Proposal

The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber supports the comprehensive facilities plan proposed by the Cedar Falls Community School District, and encourages patrons of the district to support this important program at the polls on Tuesday September 9.

Businesses and institutions of all types and sizes rely on modern infrastructure to encourage and accommodate economic growth and job creation. Perhaps as in no time in the past, the quality of educational content and experience delivered in advanced school facilities is critical to the continuing strength of our economy. Our Cedar Valley regional school facilities must lead in design, features and amenities to help our students become leaders in educational preparation and attainment.

This is true throughout the Cedar Valley economic area.  We have all seen tangible and intangible benefits from the building program financed by the Local Option Sales Tax over the last decade. Now, it is essential that our educational facilities at all levels prepare students for the emerging jobs and challenges of community citizenship of tomorrow.

We point out that this is precisely the kind of investment that must be made now to ensure that our students can take advantage of the opportunities of the future economy. Our businesses are particularly sensitive to increases in property taxes given the disproportionate burden placed directly on commercial and industrial property owners and indirectly on their tenants. For us to see the advantages to these investments in school facilities, we also recognize a huge return on these investments – a return that comes in the form of more successful teacher recruitment and retention, and student preparation and achievement.  We must see the plan helping to “fill the pipeline” with graduates well-prepared to assume highly productive roles in the future economy. We currently have a skills mismatch, and a shortage of talented people for new jobs that rely on “brainpower” and soft skills. Students with rounded educational experiences highlighted by hands-on experience, and achievement in sciences, technologies, mathematics, as well as the arts and the interpersonal skills are and will be needed. We must make these key investments to provide the best environments in which knowledge and skills are learned and attract the highest quality educators.

But schools facilities construction programs cannot be executed outside the parameters we expect of any public investment in infrastructure or service. Further, with many school districts and institutions within the Cedar Valley examining capital and facilities programs and financings, we must insist on consistency in evaluation of the proposals and value delivered to the taxpayers, as well as the students of our regional districts and institutions.

  • We believe that the plans must take into account the most modern design and service delivery models feasible.
  • The plans must be comprehensive and consider new partnerships with other educational institutions and districts, fulfilling its obligations to the patrons of the specific school district or constituency while maximizing collaboration, coordination and minimization of duplication among neighboring school districts and higher educational institutions in programs, human resources, curriculum, and services.
  • The plans must have been vetted by the patrons in a manner to elicit and consider the spectrum of views on feasibility, financing mechanisms, and impact on their community, in order to establish credibility for the amounts needed to implement modern, and indeed, futuristic facilities expansion, repurposing, and replacement programs.

The Cedar Falls proposal meets these criteria and the expectations of our economy.

  • The district has been very good stewards of the patrons’ funds, maintaining a very low tax rate as compared to similar sized districts
  • The district has not asked their patrons to approve a bond issue for facilities in nearly 40 years.
  • The plan replaces facilities for rational reasons: the new facilities replace obsolete designs that can no longer be modified and upgraded to meet modern standards; landlocked facilities are moved to larger sites where future needs can be anticipated and addressed; and facilities are located where population growth is occurring and anticipated in the district.
  • The plan was vetted by District leadership internally and with significant community involvement, review and comment.

We encourage businesses, parents and all patrons of the Cedar Falls Community School district to support the bond referendum on Tuesday September 9.

Adopted by the Board of Directors

Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber

 

 

Steve Tscherter

Chair

 

Steve Dust, CEcD

CEO

 

 

 

Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber Elects Leadership

The CEO of one of the largest locally owned firms was elected to lead the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber during its annual meeting held July 16 at the Park Place Event Center.

Tom Penaluna, CEO of The CBE Companies will chair the regional economic and community development organization through its 2014 fiscal year. Penaluna has been a board member of the Alliance & Chamber since 2008, and also was a board member of its predecessor organizations. He completed a term as chair of the affiliated Waterloo Industrial Development Association, and most recently served as vice chair of the Alliance & Chamber. Tom has asserted his leadership in the critical business – education transformation discussion by championing the Leader Valley and Leader in Me initiatives of the Alliance & Chamber. Penaluna also serves on the board of the Iowa Partnership for Economic Progress.

Other officers elected to leading the organization with Penaluna are: Vice Chair -Steve Tscherter, CEO, Lincoln Savings Bank; Treasurer-David Braton, Publisher, The Courier; and Past Chair, Kris Hansen, CEO, Western Home Communities. Steve Dust is president & CEO of the Alliance & Chamber.

The officers are joined by Rich Czarnecki, John Deere Global Director – Large Tractors; TechWorks Campus chair and former mayor Tim Hurley; and Chamber Council Chair Stacy Bentley, President – Community National Bank to form the Alliance & Chamber’s Executive Committee.

Kate Washut, partner, Far Reach, and Steen Hansen, CEO, Bossard North America were elected to the group which represents a broad spectrum of region-wide business, institutional, and local government interests. Sue Armbrecht, President – MidWestOne Bank Cedar Valley, and Chris Fereday, President – PDCM Insurance were re-elected to the board.

Washut and Hansen take the seats formerly occupied by retiring board members Dee Vandeventer, ME&V, and local attorney Hugh Field, partner in the Beecher Law Firm. “Dee and Hugh have been a part of the Alliance &Chamber leadership since its creation. The progress we’ve made in creating and delivering on the vision of a more vital, Cedar Valley economy is due in large part to the persistence and vision of business and civic leaders like Dee and Hugh,” said Dust.

Dust continues, ”Steen and Kate join others on our board who represent yet the next generation of leadership in our economy – businesses that located or started – but intending to grow – in the Cedar Valley of Iowa. They are the voices who need to chart the path for our economy moving forward,” concludes Dust.

Be part of something greater - The Cedar Valley of Iowa

The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber is a regional economic community development corporation working to increase economic vitality and wealth in the Waterloo / Cedar Falls area and surrounding economic region. The Alliance & Chamber has approximately 800 members that represents over 40,000 employees