Northwest Iowa — Voters in two northwest Iowa school districts are going to the polls this Tuesday to decide two school issues.

In the Rock Valley School District, the vote is basically a do-over of the election that failed on March 1st of this year. The question again asks voters to approve $25 million to address the schools’ space and capacity needs.

Those in charge say that if it is approved, the bond would have an estimated property tax impact of $4.05 on every $1,000 of taxable property value. When the state rollback and the Homestead Credit are factored in, they tell us this would lead to an increase of $16.63 per month ($199.58 per year) on a home worth $100,000.

If approved, the project will be a new high school attached to the current school. The addition would include 24 new classrooms. It would also include the remodeling of the existing middle/high school for larger classrooms for middle school only. It would also include a new 1800-seat competition gym and a two-lane walking track, among other items.

A majority of people did vote for the plan in March, but it failed to get the 60 percent supermajority required by bond issues.

Meanwhile, in the Hartley-Melvin-Sanborn School District, voters will decide whether to authorize the $1.34 per thousand Physical Plant and Equipment Levy or PPEL.

The revenue raised by the tax can be used for several uses, mostly related to buildings and grounds. Some of the items include asbestos projects, the purchase and improvement of grounds, surfacing and soil treatment of athletic fields, exterior lighting, demolition work, energy conservation, purchase or lease of technology, purchase of transportation equipment for transporting students, and several other uses.

Iowa Code says, however, that PPEL revenues may not be used for employee salaries or travel; supplies; printing costs or media services; or for any other purpose not expressly authorized by Iowa Code.

Full text of question:
Shall the Board of Directors of the Hartley-Melvin-Sanborn Community School District, in the Counties of O’Brien, Clay, Dickinson and Osceola, State of Iowa, for the purpose of purchasing and improving grounds; constructing schoolhouses or buildings and opening roads to schoolhouses or buildings; purchasing of buildings; purchase, lease or lease-purchase of technology and equipment; paying debts contracted for the erection or construction of schoolhouses or buildings, not including interest on bonds; procuring or acquisition of libraries; repairing, remodeling, reconstructing, improving, or expanding the schoolhouses or buildings and additions to existing schoolhouses; expenditures for energy conservation; renting facilities under Iowa Code chapter 28E; purchasing transportation equipment for transporting students; lease purchase option agreements for school buildings or equipment; purchasing equipment authorized by law; or for any purpose or purposes now or hereafter authorized by law, be authorized for a period of ten (10) years to levy and impose a voter-approved physical plant and equipment tax of not exceeding One Dollar Thirty-Four Cents ($1.34) per One Thousand Dollars ($1,000) of assessed valuation of the taxable property within the school district, and be authorized annually, in combination, as determined by the board, to levy a physical plant and equipment property tax upon all the taxable property within the school district commencing with the levy of property taxes for collection in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2024, and to impose a physical plant and equipment income surtax upon the state individual income tax of each individual income taxpayer resident in the school district on December 31 for each calendar year commencing with calendar year 2023, or each year thereafter?

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