Dear Centerville School District Patrons:
On Sept. 10, Centerville school patrons will have an opportunity to vote on a new Revenue Purpose Statement to direct the district’s spending of state penny sales tax revenues. This vote does not impact your sales taxes.
There used to be a school local option sales tax, which was to be implemented county by county. This local option tax was to last ten years. In 2008, the Legislature changed the local option into a state penny sales tax to benefit the students in all school districts. In FY14, the amount is roughly $850 per student. The state will continue to collect the penny on retail purchases through Dec. 31, 2029 and will continue to send the proceeds to all Iowa school districts.
What’s new? As part of this change, the state now requires school districts to determine how they plan to spend the sales tax money and communicate those intentions to their patrons. The Centerville school board has passed a resolution approving the new Revenue Purpose Statement, which states how the district must use the sales tax funds. The voters have a chance to weigh in on that revenue purpose statement at the regular school election on Sept. 10. The statement must follow Iowa law and can only use the funds for specific purposes described in law as school infrastructure and property tax relief. The law limits the uses to construction, reconstruction, repair, purchase of equipment, technology and buses, and other infrastructure and property tax relief needs defined in the Iowa Code which voters will see stated on the Revenue Purpose Statement and ballot. The Iowa Secretary of State defines the ballot language for the revenue purpose statement and requires it to follow a standardized format. The legislative guidance can be found at https://www.legis.iowa.gov/DOCS/ACO/IAC/LINC/05-02-2012.Chapter.721.21.pdf.
Since the Revenue Purpose Statement will direct district expense for a long time, through 2029, the statement preserves some flexibility for a future board to operate within the constraints of the law and consider additional projects or equipment purchases that otherwise would take property taxes to fund. In most cases, other school districts have language that defines all legal uses of the state penny revenue and preserves future flexibility similar to the revenue purpose statement that the Centerville voters will consider on Sept. 10.
During the duration of the local option sales tax, now in its tenth and final year, the Centerville school board has understood the need of balancing local tax revenues and student needs for safe, technology-ready facilities designed for student learning.
For additional information on the district’s finances, visit the district’s web site at http://www.centervilleschools.org or contact Anthony Ryan, superintendent of schools.
Yours in Education,
Anthony P. Ryan