Alta-Aurelia voter approved PPEL reauthorization vote set for April 2nd

Friday, March 22, 2019

Where can we vote and when?

Voting locations will be the Community Center in Alta and the Community Center in Aurelia. Patrons living in the previous Alta School District will vote in Alta. Patrons living in the previous Aurelia School District will vote in Aurelia. Both locations will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on April 2nd.

What is a Voter Approved Physical Plant and Equipment Levy and why does the Alta-Aurelia School District need to reauthorize a voter approved Physical Plant and Equipment Levy (PPEL)?

The current Voter Approved Physical Plant and Equipment Levy expires in Fiscal Year 2020 and needs to be acted upon by the citizens of our district in order for it to be extended. Reauthorizing the PPEL will have no negative effect on the current property tax rate. This is not a new tax nor is it a tax increase. It is simply reauthorizing a current levy that was voted into place within the past 10 years.

What’s this income surtax?

The reauthorization resolution includes a mix of income surtax and property tax This has two positive effects. First, by adding a mix of income surtax and property tax it will help keep property taxes low over time. Secondly, the current Physical Plant and Equipment Levy is entirely a property tax which places a disproportionate burden on the property tax owners. Adding a mix of income surtax and property tax spreads some of that responsibility out.

How can PPEL funds be used by a school district?

Public schools in Iowa have a number of funding streams and each of these come with specific guidelines on how these funds might be utilized by the school. Specifically, the Alta-Aurelia School District uses PPEL funds for building and grounds improvement/upkeep, athletic facility improvements/upkeep, elementary boiler replacement, Roof replacement and repairs, tuck pointing repairs, technology/student computer updates and improvements, school safety improvements and for the purchase of buses/vehicles for safe student transportation.

These types of “brick and mortar” projects, and equipment purchases, are paid using the Physical Plant and Equipment Levy (dollars generated through the Physical Plant and Equipment Levy CAN NOT be used for employee salaries or other General Fund expenses.

How long would this voted PPEL be in place?

A voter approved PPEL tax can only be put in place for ten years.

What are the proposed improvements a successful vote might bring?

Boilers - the existing elementary boiler is original to the building (roughly 50 years old) and is beyond its useful life. Additionally, the only boiler for the old Alta high school and gym is under the old high school making renovation for school and community use of the gym/shop area difficult and that particular boiler is about 40 years old.

Transportation - maintaining a modern fleet of vehicles is important for safe student transportation. This not only includes buses, but vans and suburbans. The school board has made maintaining a safe and modern fleet a priority in future budgeting.

School Building Safety – Updates and additions to surveillance and site monitoring equipment for all buildings as well as improvements to controlled entrances.

Technology - Increased access to mobile laptop labs at the high school and middle school level. Adding additional mobile labs of tablet computers (similar to iPads) for the elementary schools. Improving the wireless network throughout the buildings to increase access speed, safety and reliability.

Tuck Pointing – Brick walls and brick siding require periodic tuck pointing to reduce water penetration and deterioration due to weather.

Roof Replacements – The school district has a roof replacement cycle in place. Maintaining structurally sound roofs is important to maintaining the overall condition of the buildings.

Window Replacement – Due to the age of windows in the elementary and middle school facilities will become necessary. This will also improve energy efficiency

Continue to update lighting to high-efficiency LEDs – We have begun the replacement of florescent lighting with high-efficiency LED lighting in the gyms, cafeterias, high school hallways and high school classrooms. The future plans are to continue to upgrade lighting in the elementary schools and middle school.

Possible classroom additions – If the trend of increasing enrollment at the elementary level there will become a time that the district will need to add classroom space. By using SAVE and PPEL funds for future classroom additions it may reduce the need for a bond issue in the future, and bond issues raise property taxes!

Additional information to consider.

This is not a new tax. Prior to the school reorganizations, Alta passed their first Voter Approve PPEL in 2011. Aurelia had a Voter Approved PPEL in place for a number of years. This has been used wisely by the our Boards of Education and the revenue received has allowed for recent improvements in handicap accessibility, roof replacements, annual bus purchase, track renovations, technology purchases and upgrades, utility tractor purchase, athletic field improvements, and equipment purchases for band and vocal music.

All patrons are encouraged to get out and exercise your right to vote. The Alta-Aurelia Community Schools appreciates your support!