More Promise questions

Once again we emailed some questions to Mr. Malin. Once again he emailed the answers back in a very timely manner. So here are the latest questions and answers as we recieved them-

Davenport Promise Questions & Answers
November 26, 2008

What was the reasoning behind requiring the community service for those who wish to use the scholarship?
I think the reasoning was four fold. First, having teens engaged in the life of a community is a good thing in and of itself. Tens of thousands of hours of community service in Davenport each year could be fairly transformative. Second, there was from the start a Midwestern sensibility about work and reward built into the Davenport Promise concept. If students are to receive an extraordinary opportunity provided them by the community, the community has a right to expect something extraordinary in return (and in advance). Building on this, completion of a 400 hour commitment to something (something positive) before completing high school will serve the students well in their next step in life, whatever that may be. Life gets more difficult after high school, and having completed 400 hours of something that kids from other communities didn’t have to do will give them confidence to persevere when the going gets tough. Finally, there was a sense that 400 hours of community service would provide a deep and lasting connectedness to the people and places of Davenport. Post college wanderlust will occur for some, but the friendships made and the personal investment of 400 hours of community service in Davenport before they ever leave will provide some “glue” to staying (or at least returning when they become parents).

Would the school district be asked for any monies to support the Promise?
There are three school districts that serve Davenport children. Their primary responsibility is education. If the question is will the school districts be asked for money to directly support the Promise, the answer is no. The Davenport Promise is an economic development strategy for the City of Davenport. It is not a program of any one of the three school districts educating Davenport children. Iowa school districts have no legal means to spend public funds on post secondary scholarships. If the question is, will each of the three school districts spend money to educate Davenport children, the answer is yes (they are doing so now). If the Davenport Promise program is approved by voters, the districts will continue to spend money to educate Davenport children (likely, more children, which will help the districts financially) but they won’t be spending money directly on the scholarship component of the Promise.

Will the veterans who use the downpayment on a home be required to live in the home for any length of time?
The current guideline is veterans would be expected to live in the home for five years to have the homestead grant completely forgiven (on a pro-rata basis, 20% forgiven each year).

Why aren’t kids getting the scholarships required to go a local college?
The simplest answer is choice and mobility are enduring American values. The technical answer is the Upjohn Institute’s analysis modeled the impact of a portable scholarship rather than a restricted scholarship. A restricted scholarship would lessen the growth potential of the Promise. A slightly longer answer is the Task Force was careful to make the program inclusive. Some families may have a legacy of attending a certain institution. Some children may be set on a program of study that is not available locally. In resolving this, the practical answer will likely be that local schools – both colleges and vocational schools – will continue to have the advantage of being local and will be able to effectively compete for students. The Davenport Promise doesn’t pay for room and board, so there is no built in incentive to attend a non local school.

How much revenue has the LOST generated in each of last two years?
Local option sales tax revenue in FY 2007 was $14,408,214, in FY 2008, $14,920,679.

Did anyone ever find out why nobody could access the video to the latest Council meetings over the weekend?
IT is taking a look at any problems we may have had over the weekend. We can’t identify (at the moment) that we had any technical challenges. There may have been some confusion in that the Special Council Meeting was separate from the Committee of the Whole Meeting and some folks got a little lost on our website? If we find out more, I’ll let you know.

Comments on this or any other subject are welcome.

Below is the City’s answer to the question about problems on their website-

Craig,
IT Director Rob Henry indicates to me that there were no known issues or errors in the system log that indicates the system was down over the weekend. He further states that sometimes the issue can be on the user side because of their ISP and doesn’t mean the City’s system was down. These can be hard to pinpoint but IT’s best guess is that everything was working.

Please advise if you need anything further.

Jennifer A. Nahra

Communications Director

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7 Responses to More Promise questions

  1. Crruise says:

    Monthy figures for 24 months please

  2. anonymous says:

    The amounts received on the LOST are important to know by month, and especially for the upcomming month of December. With a recession, we need to see what percentage that the LOST income is decreased.

    Looking at the overall picture, Davenport needs to be concerned with the housing market, and lower assessed values, which means a smaller income to the city. In some states, assessments have dropped 30%, so it would be interesting to know how the Finance Department has projected that figure. Seems like maybe we can’t afford to start a new handout project at this time.

    If this does pass, I would like to see it be forced up on the ballot on the same year as presidental elections with a yes or no on if it should be continued. Now it appears that only a synopsis will be presented to the council yearly. The voters need to be kept in the voting loop.

  3. cruisin2 says:

    I’ve added the City’s response to our question about problems with the City website to the bottom of the post. It seems it wasn’t their fault, it was ours.

    Crruise,
    I’ll add it to the list. I should send the next set of questions in Friday, so if anybody has a question let us know.

    anonymous,
    You make some good points. As we told Crruse, let us know by noon Friday if you have any questions for Mr. Malin. We may not be able to use them all, but we’ll add as many as we can.

  4. anonymous says:

    I love when people blame it on ”operator error.” LOL.

    Cruiser: if you get a chance to view the replay of the School Board Meeting where Malin appears, it would be worth your time. The majority of them reluctantly went along with Promise. School Board Member Tupper spent most of the time frustrated, and made it clear that Malin was giving round about answers to his questions. It was funny to watch him shake his head in discust.

  5. anonymous says:

    Have benchmarks been established so that in a years time Promise can be graded as successful, mediocre and needs some work, or failure and should be discontinued immediately? Say for example the population drops or a very slight increase, then this money expenditure would be spent better in other places, but if the population increases to 125,000 the first year, then we would have to concede it was successful.

  6. Round about answers? No way! says:

    Malin doesn’t know how to tell the truth. His greatest strength is telling the good lie. One of my neighbors, a lawyer, once said Malin would rather walk around the block to tell a lie then walk across the street to tell the truth. I don’t feel sorry for Tupper though. He could have called Malin on it. Figure he just decided to shut up and get the meeting over with. Unlike the rest of us who have to deal with Malin Heightitus every day. Good turkey to you.

  7. cruisin2 says:

    anonymous,
    I’ve seen part of it. I’ve also sat in on a meeting where Mr. Malin gave a talk, After the meeting some of us got together and agreed none of us knew what he talked about.

    anonymous,
    I’ll add it to the list. I probably won’t email them in until Monday morning.

    Round about answers! No way!,
    Mr. Malin does have a way with words. Sometimes it’s better to listen for what he doesn’t say, instead of what he does say. We had a great turkey and ham dinner and hope you had a good one also.

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