Bond issue would address key facility needs for North Tama

Rod Zobel is president of the North Tama County School Board. PHOTO COURTESY OF THE AUTHOR

While the North Tama County Community School District has provided a quality education to generations of students, our school has facility needs that must be addressed soon.

Back in March, a proposed bond issue to address the district’s facility needs fell just short of the 60% voter approval needed to pass. Since then, our facility needs have not changed. In June, a large group of citizens presented the school board with a petition requesting another bond vote to take place on November 7, 2023.

The bottom line is that if we don’t address these needs soon, the outstanding schools our community has come to expect could be jeopardized. The time has come to take action to ensure students continue to have access to the resources and spaces they need to be successful, and to solidify North Tama’s long term future as a school district.

If voters approve the proposed bond issue, North Tama will move ahead with Phase I of its facilities master plan. Slated for this initial phase are an east side addition with new classrooms and collaboration spaces, secure entry upgrades, and a reconfiguration of the locker rooms and weight room to provide required handicapped accessibility. The existing parking lot would also be repaved, and selective maintenance would be performed on various other parts of the high school building.

If the bond issue is approved, the largest estimated impact on a home assessed at $100,000 would be $172.73 per year, or $14.39 per month. The estimated tax impact on an average 40-acre field of farmland within the district would be $253.72 per year, or $21.14 per month. While the tax increase is not insignificant, think of what would happen if North Tama did not have a school. The economic impact on the community would be drastic. Quality of life would decrease. Property values would decline. If North Tama were ever to dissolve our school district, our property would be divided among the other area districts. Some parts of our district would likely become part of the Hudson school district, where the tax rate is $6.46 per thousand higher, and some territory near Clutier would likely become part of South Tama where the tax rate is $5.07 higher than North Tama’s rate. If North Tama were to close, we’d be paying higher taxes AND our community would take a downturn!

The Iowa Legislature recently enacted property tax relief for seniors through a change to the Homestead Credit. All eligible homeowners can claim $4,850 as before, but homeowners who are 65 or older will also now receive an additional $3,250 credit on their 2023 valuations – with that increasing to $6,500 credit on 2024 valuations and beyond. The Homestead Credit for all homeowners will likely be adjusted in future years, as well.

To learn more about North Tama’s facility needs, the proposed solution, the tax impact, and more, please visit https://www.northtamaplanning.org.

As always, we appreciate the support of our community for our schools and the students we serve.