South Tama to hold public sessions on March bond vote

The South Tama County Community School District and Board of Education will hold a series of upcoming informational meetings focused on the March 1 bond issue proposal.

The first meeting will take place in person on Thursday, January 27, at 7 p.m. at STC Middle School Library (201 South Green in Toledo).

There will also be a virtual meeting on February 10 at 7 p.m., along with an in-person meeting on February 22 at 7 p.m. at STC High School (1715 Harding St. in Tama). Community members will have an opportunity to hear details, ask questions and provide feedback.

On March 1, the South Tama County community will vote on a bond issue proposal to renovate the Iowa Juvenile Home property to address the district’s middle school space and facility needs. The plan calls for renovating the property to provide a 21st century learning environment, with an addition to the north side of the original school building.

“Throughout this process to address our middle school’s facility needs, we have engaged and sought the feedback of our community members. In fact, the solution on the ballot reflects the recommendation of our community-led Facility Task Force,” said Mandy Lekin, Board President. “We look forward to these upcoming informational meetings to share more about the proposed project, how it would address our middle schools needs, the property tax impact that would result and other important details.”

Over the course of several months, the community-led Facility Task Force examined the middle school’s facility needs and explored potential solutions. In December, the task force recommended to the board the renovation of the Iowa Juvenile Home property.

The board has set a project budget of $26.8 million, including $15 million from General Obligation bonds, $9.8 million from sales tax bonds and $2 million from sales tax cash. Forty-four percent of the total project budget is scheduled from sales tax (not from property taxes).

District officials indicated earlier this week the required 334 signatures had been collected on the special election petitions to call for the special school election on March 1.

The exact question that will appear on the March 1 ballot is as follows:

Shall the Board of Directors of the South Tama County Community School District in the Counties of Tama and Poweshiek, State of Iowa, be authorized to contract indebtedness and issue General Obligation Bonds in an amount not to exceed $15,000,000 to provide funds to acquire, remodel, repair, rebuild, improve, furnish and equip the Iowa Juvenile Home into a middle school, and to improve the site?

If the bond issue is approved, the tax rate levy is expected to drop from $2.70 to $2.06 per $1,000 of taxable valuation due to the payoff of debt from the 2006 construction of the STC Elementary building and refinancing of the debt from the 2017 STC High School addition project with the new middle school bond debt.

More information on the March 1 bond vote and the proposed project is available at the district’s project website, www.SouthTamaBond.org.