DMPS Day at the Capitol: Wednesday, March 23

Advocates for Des Moines Public Schools will gather at the State Capitol on Wednesday, March 23.

Advocates for Des Moines Public Schools will gather at the State Capitol on Wednesday, March 23.

On Wednesday, March 23, members of the newly formed DMPS Community Legislative Action Team will lobby local legislators about the importance of the one-cent sales tax to Des Moines Public Schools.

The Secure an Advanced Vision for Education, or SAVE, is the statewide one-cent sales tax with funds directed to local school districts for infrastructure expenses. In 1999, taxpayers voted at the local level to levy the penny tax. In 2008, the Iowa Legislature passed a law to enact the one-cent sales tax statewide so all districts could have access to funds. That law scheduled the sales tax to sunset, or end, in the year 2029.

There have been suggestions this legislative session about extending the sales tax in support of schools, including a proposal by Governor Branstad to continue the tax with a portion of the funds directed to water quality measures.

Des Moines Public Schools utilizes the sales tax funds to repair buildings, construct schools and facilities, update technology, and create energy saving improvements.

The group from DMPS will talk to legislators about the importance to lift the sunset, maintain local control and ensure greater flexibility with the dollars. They will arrive at the State Capitol around 11:00 AM on Wednesday and remain through early afternoon.

“The statewide penny is an important resource to our district,” said School Board member Cindy Elsbernd. “We’ve maximized its utility not only through our thorough project planning and prioritization, but through bonding which has allowed us to address our construction needs sooner and therefore at a lower cost. While 2029 may seem far away, we’ve nearly stretched our bonding capacity to that limit so we need that sunset to be extended or lifted to continue to provide safe and sound learning environments for our students.”

The Des Moines School Board created the Community Legislative Action Team to use the voices of parents, students, educators, and community members to advocate on behalf the needs of the District. For more information about the group, go to