CLINTON – The Clinton Community School Board is worried that voters won’t understand its Revenue Purpose Statement on the Nov. 5 ballot.
“This is not voting for a new tax,” Board President Eric Gettes said Monday during the district’s board meeting.
The Iowa Legislature voted in 2019 to extend the Secure an Advanced Vision for Education tax – a 1% sales tax – until 2051, but a resolution governing how that money may be used must go to voters again, Superintendent Gary DeLacy said during last month’s board meeting.
When the legislature extended the sales tax, it mandated that school districts put the tax’s use to the voters again, DeLacy said Monday. “It’s not a tax increase.”
The district’s current Revenue Purpose Statement governing the use of SAVE revenue won’t expire until Jan. 1, 2031, according to the district’s resolution to approve a new Revenue Purpose Statement, but the state is encouraging school districts not to wait until the expiration date to put the statement to a vote, DeLacy said. “They’re really recommending that schools do it now.”
The proposition runs 13 paragraphs beginning with the summary “To adopt a Revenue Purpose Statement specifying the use of revenues the Clinton Community School District will receive from the State of Iowa Secure an Advanced Vision for Education Fund.”
The lengthy proposition says that the Clinton Community School District may use SAVE funds for information technology infrastructure, a new school building or buildings, the lease of buildings and equipment, the repair of transportation equipment, the implementation of energy conservation measures, public recreation places and playgrounds, supervision and instruction for recreational activities, the payment or retirement of general obligation bonds and to provide property tax relief.
And that’s just a partial list. Voters can read the entire proposition on the school district’s website and at clintoncountyelections.com prior to the election.
“If you vote no, you still have to pay the sales tax,” DeLacy said. The proposition doesn’t determine if residents will pay the sales tax – the legislature mandated that – but what the money may be used for.
It’s “nothing new,” said District Chief Financial Officer Cindy McAleer.
If a majority of voters fails to approve the Revenue Purpose Statement, revenue received from SAVE after the previous statement expires must be used for payment of bonds for which the revenue has been pledged, reduction of bond levies, reduction of regular and voter-approved physical plant and equipment levy, reduction of public educational and recreational levy, any authorized infrastructure purpose and payment of principal and interest on bonds, according to Iowa law.