Education graphic

The Lewis Central Community School District Board of Education will ask the Pottawattamie County auditor to put a proposition for district voters on the ballot for the Nov. 5 election.

The school district is seeking public approval of a new Revenue Purpose Statement on uses for revenue from the one-cent Secure an Advanced Vision for Education sales tax.

Superintendent Eric Knost said the new statement is needed to ensure that the district can bond against SAVE revenue past Jan. 1, 2031, when its current RPS expires. The Board of Education has in mind to pursue construction of a fine arts addition to Lewis Central High School and make improvements to the district’s transportation and operations complex, which may involve issuing bonds that won’t be retired for 20 years.

Although bonds for the auditorium project may be issued in time to be retired before that, updating the RPS will set the stage for the use of revenue for the long term, Knost said. And work on the district’s operations complex may begin later and require bonding past 2031.

“It just seems like the first order of business,” he said.

“This is just the next step,” board President Dorene Scheffel said. “We want to be sure we cover all our bases.”

The new statement may remain in use until the tax sunsets in January 2051, Knost said.

“If that’s the case, then it needs to cover whatever the district may need,” he said.

The school district has engaged Dorsey as bond counsel for the RPS election, bond hearings, bond documents and issuance.

Approval of the RPS, which requires a simple majority, would not automatically authorize the school administration to go ahead with construction or other infrastructure projects, Knost said. The board would have to hold a public hearing on any proposal to bond for a project before voting on it.

The new RPS is designed to cover pretty much everything SAVE revenue can be used for, including the following:

• Reduction of debt or debt service, such as physical plant and equipment levies, public educational and recreational levies and payment or retirement of general obligation bonds.

• Purchase, construction, improvement, repair, furnishing, equipping or demolishing school, athletic or transportation facilities.

• Land acquisition and site preparation.

• Purchase or repair of technological or transportation equipment and purchase and installation of electronic infrastructure.

• Cleanup and other costs necessitated by a disaster.

The statement also mentions using the revenue to share or rent buildings or facilities, including in joint infrastructure projects with a community college, or to purchase land, construction materials and supplies for a student-constructed structure or shed to be retained and used by the school district.

Finally, the statement makes an all-inclusive reference to “any other purposes authorized by law now or in the future and designated by the Lewis Central Community School District.”

If the proposition fails, the district will retain its current authority to expend receipts from the SAVE Fund (until the current statement expires on Jan. 1, 2031).

If approved, the RPS will remain in effect until replaced or amended by the Lewis Central Community School District.

In other business, the board:

• Renewed the i-Ready Diagnostic Assessments licensing for $22,647.60.

• Approved payment of $12,500 for CGI workshop.

• Engaged Thiele Geotech to perform additional tests on the proposed fine arts addition site and make recommendations regarding fill depth and site preparation at a cost of $5,950.

• Approved the dance team’s trip to Minneapolis for regional competition. Because the competition is Jan. 10-12, the team will travel by air in case travel conditions are not favorable. The students will have to miss one day of school. The team will raise money for the trip, and anything not covered by those funds will be the responsibility of the team members.

• Approved several policies on second reading with no changes except the deletion of one sentence in one of the policies.

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