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The Avoca-Hancock-Shelby-Tennant-Walnut Community School District is celebrating a victory from Tuesday that wasn’t limited to one candidate.

Voters overwhelming approved reauthorization of the school district’s voter-approved physical plant and equipment levy, which was set to expire on June 30, 2021. The measure, which required only a simple majority, passed with 484 in favor and 236 against, or 67.22% approval.

“It was a very pleasant outcome, and we’re thankful to voters for helping us extend our PPEL out for another 10 years past the conclusion of the current one,” said Darin Jones, superintendent. “It’s good for our school district.”

After the current authorization expires, the levy will continue at its current rate of $1 per $1,000 of taxable valuation, he said. The district also has a board-approved PPEL of 33 cents per $1,000 of taxable valuation that is reauthorized annually by the school board.

The levy helps the district keep up with repairs and maintenance and replace buses when needed, Jones said. Now that’s it’s going to be around for a longer period of time, the administration and school board can do some long-term planning.

“It gives you the funds to work on your building and grounds all along the way so you’re not saving for some big expense,” he said. “We can take on more routine needs in a more efficient manner.”

Basically, PPEL revenue can be used to purchase or improve property; build, repair or remodel buildings or additions; purchase or lease facilities; lease or purchase technology and equipment; pay debts contracted for the construction of schools or buildings (not including interest on bonds), improve energy conservation; or provide transportation for students, to paraphrase language on a sample ballot.

Recent uses by AHSTW Schools have included buying new school buses, renovating restrooms at the high school to make them accessible and installing a new freezer unit for the kitchen, Jones said.

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