I-S schools consider referendum
District seeks to raise revenue cap
By Jane Myhra
The Iola-Scandinavia School District is considering two referendums.
Information on the proposed referendum questions will be presented to the community at 6 p.m. Monday, March 21, at the I-S Elementary School.
The referendums would address capital needs by issuing new debt and would allow the district to exceed revenue limits to address operational costs.
A five-year non-recurring “step up” referendum would allow a five-year increase in the district’s revenue limits, including $200,000 in the 2016-17 school year, followed by $300,000 in 2017-18, and $350,000 in each of the next three years (2018-19, 2019-20, 2020-21).
A second referendum question would address the district’s $2 million capital projects needs, which includes roof repairs, HVAC upgrades and other urgently needed building updates.
The total cost to local taxpayers would be about $5 on a $100,000 property in 2016-17, according to Business Manager Sarah Thiel. The district’s current mill rate is $10.34, or $1,034 in annual school taxes for a home valued at $100,000.
“The referendum questions would allow us to address capital and operational needs to continue to provide high quality educational opportunities for our students,” Thiel told the I-S School Board at its March 14 meeting.
According to Thiel, the district’s debt issued as part of the 1999 referendum will be paid in full in 2020.
“Now is a good time to consider issuing new debt,” she said, noting interest rates and construction costs are low.
“We are in a good position to consider these referendum questions, which would address needs within our district with a very minimal and decreasing taxing impact to I-S residents,” Thiel said.
Without the proposed referendum, the district is facing a $350,000 shortfall for 2016-17.
Both referendums would need to be approved by the I-S School Board before being presented for a public vote in an upcoming election.