SC decides school levy

Tuesday, September 9, 2003

Along with voting for School Board candidates today, Sioux Central Community School voters will also mull over whether or not to approve an Instructional Support Levy.

About 85 percent of the schools in Iowa have passed the levy, said Sioux Central Superintendent Dr. Bonnie Meier. The money can be used for any general fund purpose the school system has.

The Sioux Central levy would be funded by an increase in a combination of property taxes and income surtax.

"It shifts some of the burden from property tax to income tax," Meier said, adding that the state is also required to provide a portion of the funding. "It is a way of getting more state aid."

The amount of tax increase for each year would be determined by the Sioux Central School Board. They can raise taxes by a maximum of ten percent.

"We will be dependent each year on the board. They can say none depending on the needs of the school," said Meier.

The maximum they would be able to raise right now is $194,786, Meier said, but the board has no intention of raising that much.

A more realistic scenario would be to raise taxes by five percent, which would allocate $101,921. At that rate, the property tax increase would generate one dollar for the whole district, a rate increase of virtually zero.

The income surtax would generate $95,500 at that level, raising the annual surtax for a household earning approximately $21,000 in income by $58.

The minimum state aid at that level would be $6,420.

The property tax for 100 acres of land could increase anywhere from $0.82 to $3 depending on the value of the land.

Meier said the money generated by the levy would go towards teachers' salaries and general equipment like textbooks and instructional supplies. Meier said the school system also receives "wonderful" grants, but they are very specific as to what they pay for.

The levy is coming up now because the school is expecting less funds from the state next year.

"This is my fifth year here and we are living on the same budget since I've been here," Meier said. "And next year we are expecting less."

The state aid portion and property tax portion would go into effect Sept. of 2004. The income tax portion would go into effect Dec. 1 of 2005.

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