If the bond measure passes, school officials want to build a new high school gym, in addition to fine arts and agriculture centers.
DONNELLSON - As soon as April, residents of the Central Lee School District may decide on whether to pass a general obligation bond issue of $9.8 million to pay for facility renovations.
The Fort Madison Daily Democrat reported Central Lee School Board members unanimously voted in favor of pursuing the sales tax and general obligation bonds last Monday during a school board meeting.
The district also plans to issue a $3.3 million sales tax bond.
As state law is now, the 20-year general obligation bond will have a property tax impact of $2.70 per $1,000 valuation.
The bond amounts could change, with the sales tax bond being greater and the general obligation bond less, if state lawmakers renew the Secure and Advanced Vision for Education tax, which is set to expire in 2029.
"The district hopes to minimize the tax impact by reducing certain levies on our total property tax. We could reduce our GO (general obligation) bond by nearly 33 percent if the state Legislature would extend the sales tax through 2039," said Central Lee Superintendent Andy Crozier.
Sales tax bonds don't raise property taxes, but general obligation bonds do.
Only the general obligation bond requires voter approval. Sixty percent of voters must cast their ballots in favor of the bond for it to pass.
"The board has the authority to bond against sales tax revenue at anytime. We would not bond against sales tax revenue unless the general obligation bond is approved," Crozier said.
An additional $200,000 for renovation costs will come from the district's sales tax fund balance.
If approved, money from the bond referendum and sales tax bond would go toward a new high school gymnasium, to be built in the courtyard in front of the school, fine arts and agriculture centers, and new offices in the elementary and high school buildings to establish secure entrances. Visitors would be required to sign in upon entering the school. Plans are to use the current elementary office space as a preschool center.
The district's sales tax dollars also would pay for changes to the road and parking lot.
"District stakeholders have commented for many years on the need for a new gym, improved security through new offices in both buildings, and congested traffic flow and parking," Crozier said. "We are at a point now that we feel this project makes sense to ask our voters whether they feel this is important to them.
"As an alum of this district, I'm proud of our facilities and what it has provided for past graduates. I know we need to improve in many areas though if we are going to provide a welcoming, safe and innovative space for future graduates."
The district developed a facility advisory committee last fall to help determine a plan for the school's buildings over the next several years. The committee hosted a community forum in November to gather public input.
"We feel like we have done some early work the past four months to ensure what we are asking our voters to approve will resonate with many of our community members," Crozier said.