Faced with a tight budget and a current Physical Plant and Equipment Levy (PPEL) that expires June 30, 2001, the Mid-Prairie Board of Education Monday authorized Superintendent Gordon Cook to proceed …
Faced with a tight budget and a current Physical Plant and Equipment Levy (PPEL) that expires June 30, 2001, the Mid-Prairie Board of Education Monday authorized Superintendent Gordon Cook to proceed with steps to put a PPEL levy vote before the voters in March or April.
The board will meet in a work session January 17, at 7 p.m. to decide the amount of the levy, the portion to come from an income surcharge and property tax, and the actual date for the vote. There will be no meeting January 24 to allow board members to attend political caucuses.
The current levy is 67 cents and is derived from a small property tax asking and a large income tax surcharge. Under Iowa law, voters may approve from 67 cents to a maximum of $1.34 for the levy.
In a brief discussion, board members were told that the board has the authority to levy a 33 cent levy. However, anything beyond that figure requires voter approval.
“It is simply a majority,” said Business Manager Doug Slaubaugh about the number needed for passage.
Cook told the board that there are definite needs for which PPEL would be used, especially building repairs and transportation.
“Tuck pointing at all buildings is needed,” he said, adding that there have been moisture problems at the middle school.
The present levy will generate $221,811 for the 1999-2000 academic year. If a maximum levy is approved, it could give the district $317,890 (based on current evaluations).
In approving the move for a levy, board member Elizabeth Curl suggested that the board start “as soon as possible” to permit additional attempts before the 2001 expiration.
Although the board made no decision Monday, indications are the levy will be sought for ten years. It also is likely that if a combination tax is used, the board will determine the income surtax each year.
The move will not alter the total amount of the levy, only the percentage of the surtax, and was suggested as a better way to meet local economic changes.
The board also approved the alternative kindergarten program at Kalona Elementary School will be financed through state funds geared at reducing class sizes. Staff determination was to provide services for kindergarten students deemed at-risk.
Total budget is $15,438.52, well below the approximate $22,000 the district has received in state money.
In other business, the board:
•approved writing a letter to the Iowa Department of Transportation asking that highway 22 be upgraded for maintenance and snow clearance. The highway is a D level maintenance, compared to A level for interstates and B level for Highway 1. the move was prompted by recent accidents on the highway and the fact that many students arrive well before class time for athletic and fine arts practice.
•had a lengthy demonstration of recently acquired computer software used in high school classrooms.
•hired Laural Marquis as lead cook at the Middle School and Pat Curl as technology technician for the high school. Curl will be hired as an outside contractor and not a district employee. He already is a district bus driver.
•hired Cheryl Karr as the Latchkey Program coordinator at Wellman Elementary School and Carolyn Kauffman as cook’s helper at the Middle School.
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