On the Tuesday, March 2, 2021, special election, Bettendorf, North Scott and Pleasant Valley community school district voters will find on their ballot a proposition extending each district’s individual Revenue Purpose Statements through 2051. This is not a property tax or an increase in taxes. It specifies how each district intends to use the funds received from the State one-cent sales tax, known as the Secure an Advanced Vision for Education, or SAVE, fund.
All eligible voters are asked to vote on this proposition. Approval of the Revenue Purpose Statement does not change the statewide penny tax. The proposition defines how each school district is allowed to spend its SAVE dollars. This ballot language directs funds to be spent to build or renovate schools or additions; to address major repairs; to purchase school sites; to furnish and equip buildings (with technology, for example); and to make principal and interest payments for school infrastructure purposes.
“SAVE will allow our school districts to sustain, improve, and expand facilities without increasing property taxes,” said Dr. Michelle Morse, superintendent, Bettendorf Community School District. “Thanks to our community’s support for school facilities in the past, we’ve been able to provide high-quality facilities and technology that meets the needs of current and future students. Approval of the revenue purpose statement allows school districts to borrow against future sales tax revenues to support school infrastructure needs. Without updating our Revenue Purpose Statement, we will be limited to revenue bonds that are callable in 2029 or earlier, which limits our ability for long-range facilities planning.”
BENEFITS OF THE ONE CENT SALES TAX
In 2019, the Iowa legislature extended the SAVE tax through December 31, 2050. The proposition extends the current district Revenue Purpose statement from its sunset on January 31, 2031, through December 31, 2050, and designates how these funds can be used. Updating the Revenue Purpose Statement allows each district to engage in long-term facility planning with a defined revenue stream and purpose.
If voters do not pass the Revenue Purpose Statement, the money generated by the one-cent sales tax would first be used to reduce any debt service levy, Physical Plant and Equipment Levy (PPEL) and Public Education and Recreation Levy (PERL). Only after these levies are reduced can the district use the funds for school infrastructure and any lawful State Penny purpose. This redistribution of revenue severely limits a district’s ability to keep facilities and equipment up to community expectations.
Bettendorf Community School District
North Scott Community School District
Pleasant Valley Community School District