Evans: University of Iowa Utility Secrecy a Blow to Public Accountability

The Iowa Board of Regents is being asked this week to consider a complex proposal to turn the operation of the University of Iowa’s utility system over to an unnamed business that will be paid to operate it for the next 50 years. The business will make a cash payment of an undisclosed size to the university up front in return for the privilege of managing the coal-burning power plant, water treatment plant and the infrastructure for distributing electricity, steam and water across the sprawling campus and hospital complex. In return, the business is guaranteed a 50-year stream of revenue from its one customer. University officials see the public-private deal as a win-win for everyone. That may be true.

Evans: Stadium Project Harms Credibility of Educators

Credibility is oh so fragile, and officials in Iowa’s largest school district dented theirs last week. Even people who don’t live in Des Moines should be troubled by what occurred, because there is a good chance, come January, the Iowa Legislature will respond in ways that could affect every other school district in the state. Here’s why:

In the Nov. 5 school election, the Des Moines school district asked voters to approve a higher property tax levy for the district’s building and equipment needs. The higher physical plant and equipment levy will bring in an additional $6.5 million a year.