Students First

After all 99 Iowa counties approved a local option sales tax for school infrastructure, the Iowa General Assembly approved legislation in 2008 to make this a permanent source of revenue to support improvements to public schools across the state. Des Moines Public Schools created “Students First,” a plan to make the best use of these funds.

In Des Moines, that means the work begun in 1999 with local option sales tax funds will continue, so that every school in the city will see improvements. In fact, in September 2009, Des Moines voters gave their approval to the district’s plan for using these funds, which includes improving safety and security; replacing obsolete, inefficient, or worn-out equipment or systems; improving buildings that have not already received major improvements; installing air conditioning; and upgrading technology.

Students First Projects

Renovations are already underway thanks to Students First. Two major projects – North High School and Hoover High School/Meredith Middle School – saw work completed in time for the 2011-12 school year.

In February 2012, the School Board approved the sale of $71 million in Sales Tax Revenue Bonds in order to proceed with the renovation of more than a dozen schools throughout the city. The decision will save money by getting ahead of the cost of inflation, accelerate work to several schools in the community, and support jobs in the construction trades. Those plans include a new building for Edmunds Elementary School. Other projects currently on the drawing board under Students First include:

  • Central Campus – Complete the balance of renovations of the 1st and 2nd floors; asbestos abatement; data and communications upgrade; security and technology upgrades; move the Wellness Center
  • Brody Middle School – Addition to eliminate temporary buildings.
  • Edmunds Elementary School – New school building.
  • Findley Elementary School – Window and door replacement; mechanical/ electrical upgrade; asbestos abatement; data and communications upgrade; addition to eliminate temporary building and open classrooms; security and technology upgrades.
  • Kurtz/Lincoln South – Replace windows and exterior doors. 
  • Hiatt Middle School – Exterior door replacement; mechanical/electrical upgrades; asbestos abatement; data and communications upgrade; remodel to eliminate temporary buildings; security and technology upgrades.
  • Hoover High School – Exterior window and door replacement; electrical improvements.
  • Hoyt Middle School – Window and door replacement; mechanical/electrical upgrade; asbestos abatement; data and communications upgrade; addition to create extra classroom space; develop space for Focus program; security and technology upgrades.
  • Jefferson Elementary School – Window and door replacement; mechanical/ electrical upgrade; asbestos abatement; data and communications upgrade; addition to eliminate open classrooms; security and technology upgrades.
  • Lovejoy Elementary School – Window and door replacement; mechanical/ electrical upgrade; asbestos abatement; data and communications upgrade; addition to eliminate temporary buildings and open classrooms; security and technology upgrades.
  • Madison Elementary School – New student drop-off.
  • Meredith Middle School – Completion of exterior window and door replacement; mechanical/electrical upgrade; asbestos abatement; data and communications upgrade; security and technology upgrades.
  • Park Elementary School – Renovate 1970 wing.
  • Pleasant Hill Elementary School – Window and door replacement; mechanical/electrical upgrade; asbestos abatement; data and communications upgrade; addition to eliminate temporary buildings and open classrooms; security and technology upgrades.
  • Prospect Road Facility – Exterior window replacement; mechanical/electrical upgrade; asbestos abatement; data and communications upgrade.
  • Studebaker Elementary School – Window and door replacement; mechanical/electrical upgrade; asbestos abatement; data and communications upgrade; addition to eliminate temporary buildings and open classrooms; security and technology upgrades.

For more specific information about plans for the above schools, please click on the link in the menu to the right.