November 5 School Election Update
City and school district elections will be held across Iowa on Tuesday, November 5. In the North Tama County Community School District, voters will select four candidates to serve on the Board of Education and will vote on a special ballot measure as well.
Four of the seven Board of Education seats at North Tama will be decided in the November election. Incumbents Doug Dvorak and Valerie Bradley have filed papers to run for re-election in their director districts. Tiffany Feisel and Mona Larson have opted to not seek re-election.
Haley Blaine is running unopposed for the Director District 3 seat being vacated by Mona Larson. In Director District 7, three candidates are running to replace Tiffany Feisel. Rebecca Dostal, Amber Monat, and David Boldt have all filed nomination papers to be considered for the Director District 7 seat.
In the North Tama district CANDIDATES must reside in the director district they are seeking to represent, but ALL voters may vote for ALL board seats regardless of where in the district the voter may live.
In a recent SUPERINTENDENT NEWS & VIEWS column, I shared with you that the Iowa legislature has extended the statewide one-cent sales tax for school infrastructure until 2051, requiring the passage of a new Revenue Purpose Statement before a district may access the funds that will be generated starting in 2031.
At their September board meeting, the North Tama Board of Education decided to move forward with this process by bringing to our patrons a ballot issue regarding the allowed uses of the one-cent sales tax. Several other area districts are holding similar ballot measures in this election, and we’ll see ballot measures just like this one all over the state of Iowa between now and the expiration of the current law.
Provided below in a “Question & Answer” format is information regarding North Tama’s Revenue Purpose Statement ballot issue and the process prescribed by state laws for our district to continue to use these funds beyond 2031. If you have any other questions after reviewing this information, please do not hesitate to contact me by phone at (319) 478-2265 or by email at email@example.com
WHAT IS A REVENUE PURPOSE STATEMENT?
It is a ballot issue that describes the allowed uses for the 1-cent sales tax in the State of Iowa that is dedicated to all Iowa school districts. This one-cent sales tax is known as SAVE (Secure an Advanced Vision for Education). North Tama’s current Revenue Purpose Statement originally passed in September 2008 received overwhelming support from district patrons. Now that the Iowa Legislature has extended the sales tax to last until 2051, a new Revenue Purpose Statement is needed.
WHAT IS BETTER FOR NORTH TAMA SCHOOLS? A “YES” VOTE OR A “NO” VOTE?
While I wouldn’t presume to tell you how to vote, I would offer that these RPS measures have been relatively non-controversial all over the state. Many have called them a “no-brainer,” as consumers statewide are already paying the one-cent sales tax and will continue to pay it either way, and school districts statewide will receive the revenues either way — the RPS just gives districts a little more flexibility with the dollars they are already receiving. A prevailing “YES” vote won’t cost you anything, and it will allow North Tama to continue to maintain and upgrade facilities, technology infrastructure, student technology, and transportation equipment.
WILL THIS RAISE MY TAXES?
The outcome of this vote will absolutely NOT raise your taxes – regardless of whether the YES or NO vote prevails. The one-cent sales tax is already being collected statewide and the legislature has now extended the one-cent sales tax until 2051. The sole purpose of the Revenue purpose Statement is to describe and outline the uses for which the one-cent sales tax may be used at North Tama.
WHAT DO WE CURRENTLY DO WITH THE ONE-CENT SALES TAX REVENUE?
Over the past 10 years North Tama has used SAVE revenues for just about every type of infrastructure expenditure allowed by law. Here are some examples:
Major Addition & Remodeling Project including Locker Rooms, Gym Lobby, Jr. High Classrooms and Commons, Remodeling of Jr. High Classrooms, and Superintendent’s Office
Athletic Facility Improvements (Dennis Field, Gymnasium, and NT Athletic Complex)
Student Computers and 1-to-1 Devices as well as Teacher Computers
Back-End Technology Infrastructure
Fine Arts Improvements (including stage lighting, painting and carpeting band and vocal classrooms and the upcoming installation of a new acoustic shell and stage curtain)
HVAC Improvements (including boilers)
Flooring Improvements (including gym and stage resurfacing, classroom flooring replacements, and installation of stair treads for increased safety)
Handicapped Accessibility Improvements (Elevator Repairs, Addition of ADA-Compliant Ramps)
Sidewalk and Concrete Repairs
Purchase of School Buses and Vehicles
Retrofitting Route Buses with Seat Belts
Air Conditioning School Buses
Transportation Repairs (repairs over $2500 may be paid from SAVE)
Improving Building Security (including secured access doors & security cameras)
Installation of Energy-Efficient Lighting
Roofs, Downspout, and Gutter Repair
Added 4 Drinking Fountains with Water-Bottle Fillers
Purchasing an Adjacent Lot and Demolishing a House for Additional Parking
IF THIS BALLOT MEASURE IS APPROVED BY VOTERS, HOW WILL THE DISTRICT’S USE OF THE ONE-CENT SALES TAX REVENUES CHANGE?
For the most part, I would expect the district’s spending of the one-cent sales tax revenues to look very similar to the types of uses listed in the previous question: to maintain and improve district facilities, equipment, and infrastructure. Our current Revenue Purpose Statement (which expires at the end of the current SAVE legislation) was written with the same goal in mind as the newly proposed statement: to allow maximum flexibility for the school district.
One possible change may be the consideration of some larger projects that would require bonding against future revenues. The approval of a new Revenue Purpose Statement now would allow the district to bond against future revenues from the one-cent sales tax through 2051 if necessary for more expensive projects.
WHY IS THIS NEEDED NOW?
This isn’t absolutely needed now, but it is needed sometime before the current SAVE law expires and the new, extended SAVE law begins on January 1, 2031. You’ll see ballot measures just like this one all over the state of Iowa between now and that date.
A new RPS is needed before a district can structure revenue bonds against SAVE revenues that will be generated on or after January 1, 2031. So, the approval of a new Revenue Purpose Statement may be needed before any very large, expensive infrastructure projects can take place in the district.
WHAT WILL NORTH TAMA DO IF THE REVENUE PURPOSE STATEMENT IS NOT APPROVED?
As stated above, the district needs to pass a Revenue Purpose Statement sometime before the current SAVE law expires and the new, extended SAVE law begins on January 1, 2031. While a failure to pass the RPS wouldn’t cause a major problem right now, it would be crippling for North Tama if the RPS doesn’t pass sometime prior to 2031. At the present time, it would only hold us back from MAJOR projects that would require borrowing. Iowa law requires a minimum of six months to elapse before another Revenue Purpose Election can be held. If the Revenue Purpose Statement considered by voters in November is not approved, either the same or a revised RPS can be brought back to our voters. If the Board of Education wants to avoid the cost of holding a special election, they may opt to wait two years until the next regular school election.
WILL PASSAGE OF THE REVENUE PURPOSE STATEMENT REQUIRE A “SUPER-MAJORITY”?
No. A simple majority (50% +1) is needed for passage.
WHAT IF I HAVE ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS?
If you have any other questions after reviewing this information, please do not hesitate to contact me by phone at (319) 478-2265 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The same questions and answers that you read above are also posted on our website. As I receive questions from district patrons, I may add to the “Q&A” document for further clarification. You can find the online “Q&A” at http://bit.ly/NTRPS.
I encourage your feedback on this column, along with any questions you may have. You are welcome to visit my blog at redhawksupt.blogspot.com/ where you can read all of my columns and leave comments if you wish. You are also welcome to follow me on Twitter, where my handle is @DavidRobertHill.