Community outlook: Sup. Jared Smith

Life is full of second chances.

Whether it be re-taking a driver’s license test, running another 5K race, or repairing a relationship, life has a way of providing opportunities for improvement.

When given extra chances, it is imperative we make adjustments. By examining our failures and developing improved plans, we increase our chances of succeeding the second time around.

There is a “second chance” that could emerge soon involving the Tama-Toledo community. And I want you to know I am committed to doing better when this opportunity arises.


Last March we had a failed bond referendum vote to replace our middle school.

When I reflect on that bond referendum vote, I believe there are a number of things that I could have done better. I’m afraid I strayed from one of my leadership core values, which is that we did not get enough community feedback on the plan.

When our district makes big decisions, we search for input and feedback from as many people as possible. As school leaders, we realize the importance of getting buy-in from the impacted group prior to making a decision.

I did not do a good enough job of providing the community with an opportunity to provide feedback prior to developing our plan the first time around, and I want you to know I am committed to asking for more feedback this second time around.


Prior to the storm on August 10th, our community was already dealing with financial difficulties. Local business owners, farmers, and homeowners were already struggling to adjust to life during the COVID pandemic. As a result, our school district was not planning on addressing the middle school until things were back to “normal.”

However, the storm of August 10th and the damages that occurred to the middle school building have made us rethink those plans. Now we are faced with a difficult decision:

Should we use insurance money to fix the middle school?

Or, should we invest the insurance money in a new building?

This past Wednesday and next Monday the community has an opportunity to provide input on next steps for our middle school. While I personally believe our best decision is to put the insurance money toward a new building, I understand we cannot move forward with this plan without the support of the community.

Therefore I am asking for your assistance in providing feedback on our next steps. If you attended on Wednesday I want to thank you. If you did not have the chance to attend, I encourage you to join our virtual community meeting next Monday.

The more people who can attend and provide their voice, the better chance we have of understanding the needs of the community. If you cannot attend either event, I encourage you to email me at jsmith@s-tama.k12.ia.us.


My top priority as Superintendent is to make decisions that are in the best interest of our students. In my opinion, what is best for our Middle School students and staff is a new school, regardless of location.

Whenever this second chance arises, I am willing to put my preferences aside and allow the community to drive the location, cost, and other details. As long as our community is given a building that meets the needs of 21st century learners, I will fulfill my expectations.

I look forward to working with you and developing a plan moving forward. Whether it be in March, or sometime in the future, I promise we will do our best to develop a plan that works for everyone.