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Financing high school addition before South Tama School Board

November 13, 2015
By Joyce Wiese, News-Herald Correspondent and John Speer, Editor ( , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

The South Tama School Board met in special session Monday night, Nov. 2, to discuss financing of the upcoming project to replace the portable class rooms at the high school.

Phase I of the cost of replacing the four units with a high school addition was initially estimated at $5,585,919.

In total, a nine classroom addition is included with 17,515 sq. ft. at an estimated cost of $195 per sq. ft. in plans and estimates provided by the Struxture architectural firm.

Article Photos

In one of the four portable calssrooms at South Tama High School, math teacher Ian Tayner (right) conducts a class during the visit of Iowa Department of Education head Ryan Wise on Oct. 13. STC?School Board President Michelle Yuska, Superintendent Mary Jones, Wise and High School Principal Roy Frakes are at the left.
Chronicle- News-Herald photos/John Speer

The West Des Moines company has been retained for the work.

On Sept. 21, school board members Michelle Yuska, Jackie Dvorak, Mark McFate and Penny Tyynismaa voted to proceed with the project. Member Alan Kline was absent.

The board intends to use sales tax revenue received by the district to pay the construction and related costs. The estimated district sales tax revenue for fiscal year 2016 is $1,378,852 according to Mary Boege, South Tama business manager.

The present South Tama High School opened in the spring of 1968. The portable classrooms have been in place since 1987.

Larry Sigel, partner in the Iowa School Finance Information Services (ISFIS) was on hand Nov. 2 with a presentation for the project. Sigel outlined funds, revenues, expenditures, spending authority and financial health.

Sigel discussed the general fund with the basic principles including student driven - amount per student set by legislature.

Schools are budget limited, not rate limited. Doubling property value equals property tax rate falls with no more dollars to spend. Tax rate driven by formula more than district actions. District can only spend funds on allowable purposes.

School districts have restricted funding sources, not all funds can be spent on anything the district decides. This comes from state and federal laws. Funding sources include 20.9 percent as Miscellaneous income, 32.8 percent as property tax and 46.3 percent state aid.

Restriction of Spending Authority only applies to the General Fund-all other funds allow spending if you have the cash to spend. The district must account for two things in their general fund, fund balance (cash) and spending authority (credit card limit).

The basic formula for spending authority is the number of children times a cost per child. The number of children is a year behind, always using the prior year count. Cost per child is set by the Iowa Legislature. Spending authority is then funded by a combination of State Aid and Property Taxes.

Sigel showed non-general fund sources as PPEL, (buildings, buses, equipment, technology). Board maximum $0.33 per $1000 valuation.

Voted: maximum $1.34 per$ 1000 valuation (Income Surtax can fund.)

Management worker compensation, P*C ins.. Early Retirement. No maximum-purpose limited. Debt Service being buildings and equipment. Maximum $4.05 per $1000. Sales Tax can be used for building, equipment, PPEL and Debt service uses. (Bonds) Maximum one percent statewide.

PERL (public recreation/playgrounds, maximum $0.35 per $1000.

Mary Jones, superintendent, discussed the importance of visiting with the different groups of people including teachers, public and businesses.

Two votes have failed for renewal of the Physical Property and Equipment Levy (PPEL) with both failing to reach the required majority vote for approval.



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