Sioux Central schools' nest egg is shrinking rapidly, and one possible solution may be a tax levy.
School officials recently announced that the reserve spending authority - the unspent balance at the end of the fiscal year for the district - had dropped by nearly a quarter of a million dollars in the past year.
For fiscal 2006, the district had over $1.4 million banked, but at the end of fiscal 2007 last June, the reserve amount had fallen by $226,000, the third annual decline in a row, to a total fund of $1.17 million.
Sioux Central state funding has also declined by over $80,000 in recent years, while personnel costs have continued to increase at a rate of about 4 percent per year, according to the district newsletter,
The district is not alone. According to its figures, Alta's reserve has declined even more sharply, Aurelia has fallen below $300,000, Laurens-Marathon below $400,000, Everly has only $10,000, South Clay is in negative figures. Albert City-Truesdale, which sent its high school students to Sioux Central, actually saw a gain this past year, SC officials noted.
Sioux Central's current general fund expenditures per pupil are considered to be in the lowest 10 percent of the schools in Iowa
The answer may be an instructional support levy, SC officials suggest.
Over 90 percent of the districts in Iowa imposed such a tax as of the fall 2007 semester.
Such a levy would have to be adopted by the school board. The Sioux Central board plans to discuss the possibilities of an ISP levy over the next few meetings this spring.
Also in reaction to the financial challenges, Sioux Central and Laurens-Marathon boards have met and directed the two districts' superintendents to continue talks toward possible sharing efforts. No decisions have been made at this time.