A special election will be held Tuesday, April 3, 2018, to consider whether to renew the school district voter-approved Physical Plant and Equipment Levy (PPEL). This is not a new tax or a tax increase. Clarke Community School District residents have a long history of supporting this PPEL. State law requires a vote on whether to renew this levy every 10 years.
In addition, the election will include a vote on a proposal to bond $13 million to provide additions, renovations, a new bus barn and site improvements to the District facilities including the Elementary, Middle and High Schools. Similar to the PPEL, we have a long history of supporting GO bonds.
PLANNING FOR THE FUTURE
FOR OUR DISTRICT
Our proposed plan will allow the District to:
- Increase instructional spaces
- Create fully accessible (ADA compliant) facilities
- Provide separate entrances for Middle & High Schools
- Maximize resources (relocating 6th grade to adapt current educational & curriculum model)
- Relieve overcrowding at the Elementary School
- Reduce traffic/bus congestion with proposed road
- Add a new bus barn (to alleviate rental costs)
FOR OUR COMMUNITY
- School facilities are vital tools in retaining and attracting new families to town.
- Creating a partnership with the community to focus on the future impact and development of our community.
FOR OUR FUTURE
The proposed $13 million bond includes an estimated cost of: $10.5 million for improvements at the Middle/High School; $1.5 million for improvements at the Elementary School; and $1 million for a new bus barn.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs)
What does this mean to you?
We are asking you to renew our current PPEL and vote on a proposed $13 million general obligation bond. If both the PPEL and the bond referendum pass, your taxes will remain the same as 2017. There will be NO additional increase to your taxes!!
How did the Board decide?
The Board initially utilized the services of Estes Construction to complete a facility assessment report. Estes Construction is endorsed through the Iowa Association of School Board’s ICAT program. The report provided the board with information including funding sources, project examples, and project costs. (You can view the report in its entirety here; PLEASE NOTE: The costs presented do NOT reflect the costs of the $13 million bond referendum). The board acknowledged the report and decided to proceed with its own study of the facilities to determine the best course for the district.
CMBA Architects was retained to work with the board, facility committee, and Estes Construction to develop a school master plan for the future of Clarke Community Schools. The proposed projects to be completed by the bond referendum were a result of the master plan effort. Keeping in mind the tax impact of these improvements, the Board felt it was in the best interest of the students and community to move forward with improvements that would result in no tax increase.
The proposed $13 million bond referendum includes an estimated cost of: $10.5 million for improvements at the Middle/High School; $1.5 million for improvements at the Elementary School; and $1 million for a new bus barn.
What is PPEL?
State law allows communities to approve this levy specifically to care for, sustain, equip and improve schools and school facilities. Use of PPEL is narrowly defined by the state, so funds are used as intended. These funds could only be used for facility and transportation-related equipment, repair, and maintenance. Funds from a PPEL cannot be used for salaries, instructional materials, textbooks, etc.
What is a GO bond?
A general obligation (GO) bond is a method of long-term financing that a school district may use to borrow money for construction projects. This spreads the cost of the project over a number of years, similar to a home mortgage.