District launches bond issue campaign
Wednesday, August 11, 2010 2:00 AM
The Decorah School District is willing to do everything it can to educate the voting public about an upcoming $10.4 million bond issue.
At Monday's meeting of the Decorah School Board, Superintendent Mike Haluska explained he is planning to post a number of frequently asked questions (FAQs) on both the Decorah Community School District Web site, www.decorah.k12.ia.us, and the "2 From You" committee Web site, www.2fromyou.org.
In addition, Haluska said he has scheduled three dates for the public to tour the high school and get a first-hand look at needed improvements.
The first tour is Friday, Aug. 27, from 6 p.m. until the start of the first home football game with La Porte City. The second is the next morning, beginning at 9 a.m., and the final tour is Tuesday, Sept. 7, starting at 6 p.m.
He said tours will be departing every 15 minutes.
About the bond issue
Last month, the "2 from You" committee petitioned the Decorah School Board to hold a $10.4 million bond referendum Tuesday. Sept. 14.
The petition was presented following a two-year study by the Decorah Shareholders group, a committee appointed by the Decorah School District to study facilities needs throughout the District.
The committee recommended a number of renovations to the high school, including: updating and replacing the heating, cooling, electrical and communication systems, repairing the roof, creating a "safe room" for security and safety during severe weather, and restructuring the cafeteria and gym areas.
The 2 From You committee has issued a statement saying "Low interest rates and a competitive bidding environment for building construction mean the time is now for us to address these concerns."
The bond issue would cover approximately half of the funding stream for a $19.5 million project, which would include renovations and additions to the high school and some updating of John Cline School. The other $ 9.1 million would come from property taxes, the Physical Plant and Equipment Levy (PPEL), and statewide penny receipts.
If approved, District taxes would increase $1 per $1,000 of taxable value.
A second question on the ballot will ask voters to renew the PPEL, which was first approved by Decorah voters in 2003.
While the current $1.34 per $1,000 of taxable value PPEL won't expire until 2013, the District is asking voters for renewal to ensure it will be able to repay its debt and borrow more for upcoming projects.
The PPEL generates more than $600,000 per year for the Decorah District.
Anyone interested in additional information about the bond issue is encouraged to contact anyone on the Decorah School Board or the 2 From You committee, which is named for the two issues which will appear on the ballot.
2 From You committee members include: Steve Belay, Dave Broghamer, Amy Bruening, Laurie Bulman, Kurt DeVore, Jeff Freidhof, Larry Grimstad, Ann Kephart, Daryl Landas, Jeff Olinger, Heidi Miller Olinger, Craig Rabe, Adam Riley, Larry Stevenson and Kris VandeKrol.