First, a few things that I didn't have room for in my first post. The second half of this post I'm going to lay out what I believe to be the Pros, Cons, and potential risks and rewards of the Promise.
Leftover Meeting Stuff:
At one point, the moderator asked Mark Nelson what his idea for fixing Davenport's problems were, if not the Promise. He attempted to refuse, saying that wasn't the issue, but Ridolfi insisted. I'm glad he insisted, because the group's name isn't Opt4Nothing, its Opt4Better. That implies an idea of what "better" is. Finally he came out with the usual Libertarian answer of school vouchers, performance-based teacher pay, and lower taxes. If only we give everyone the chance to all go to privately run schools, everything will be fine! I'm sorry, but if you add 100 kids whose parents would rather shoot at each other than raise their kids, any public OR private school is going to have trouble. When parents are the problem, its tough for the all-powerful market to solve the issue. This is why its important to bring in parents and their children who are so focused on learning that they're willing to move somewhere focused on education.
Also towards the end of the meeting Nelson trotted out the usual conspiracy theory where the school district and the city are trying to influence the results by letting people know when the informational meetings are. If the city autodialer called people to say "Vote for Promise" that would be a real issue. Instead, they told people about meetings where both sides had a chance to present their argument. I don't see how that's bad. Nelson also claimed that the School District sent out pro-Promise postcards, while Ken Croken said that those had been sent out by the Pro-Promise folks. I didn't get one, so I don't know where the truth lies on that one.
And now, Pros, Cons, Risks and Rewards: (I tried to put facts in the Pros and Cons and possibilities in the Risks and Rewards)
-It isn't a new tax
-Some existing residents will have an easier time sending their kids to college
-$7500 towards buying a home in Davenport for graduates who enlist in the military
-Property tax cap for low income seniors and disabled folks
-More money for public safety frees up operating budget money to keep tax rates stable, at least in the short term
-Cannot give way more than 30% of LOST revenue
-Many potential rewards (see below)
-Money is initially taken away from capital improvement projects (CIP), especially parks
-Doesn't inherently "fix" the school system (although potentially brings it more $)
-Every detail doesn't seem to be worked out yet
-30% of LOST revenue may not fully cover quickly-rising college tuitions for long
-Many potential risks (see below)
-Could fail completely, no new money for schools or the city, less CIP money than now
-Could be so successful that too many people move here, ruining Davenport's livability
-Property taxes could rise, increasing assessments, and therefore increasing taxes on people not covered by the cap
-It could only attract people looking for freebies
-More kids could go to college, and not return
-The School district could receive far more state money, allowing them to stop raising taxes locally (or even lower them? ...maybe too much to hope for) and/or providing funding to "fix" the school system
-The influx of new residents could entice new companies to consider locating here
-Property taxes could rise, increasing resale value
-The incentive to go to SCC for free may keep more kids local for 2 extra years
-Good PR for the city, allowing us to be known for something other than failures of the '80s
-Feared city tax increases could potentially be offset by decreasing school taxes, allowing the overall tax bill to remain stable
-It could only attract people concerned about their kids' education.
-More kids go to college!
All of these issues bring me to the fact that if this isn't working, it can be ended. Whether ended gradually and expensively, or quickly and cheaply, it could be voted away. Mark Nelson said Tuesday though that if this passes, people won't vote this benefit away. That should tell you everything right there.
Either way, don't forget to VOTE TOMORROW.