Referendum 2020

The Southeast Polk Community School Board would like to move forward with placing a question on the September 8, 2020, election ballot, to be able to issue general obligation (GO) bonds for the 2020 Referendum Plan.

For the referendum to be placed on the September ballot, we first need to accumulate nearly 1,000 signatures petitioning for support. Join us by driving through the RAMS Rising – Referendum 2020 Signing Day on July 3rd from 6AM-Noon in the Altoona Campus parking lot to sign! Or, if it’s more convenient, you may sign during facility hours (7am – 6pm) at the District Office (now located in the old Altoona City Hall) or in the Altoona Campus front entrance.

Referendum 2020 List of Projects

The plan includes projects to build, furnish and equip:

  • an elementary facility
  • a grade 6-7 facility
  • an administrative and support services facility
  • a buildings and grounds storage and bus parking facility
  • a multipurpose stadium facility including parking and related site improvements

Also

  • to acquire land for the elementary and grade 6-7 facilities
  • to improve the softball field site
  • to equip and improve classroom instruction technology in instructional facilities

Referendum 2020 Key Points:

  • Will not raise District taxes – Fluctuating tax rates are hard on taxpayers
  • Provides a dedicated funding source for these projects
  • One petition for future infrastructure needs over the next five years will diminish voter fatigue
  • SEP will finish collecting property taxes for all other outstanding general obligation debt in 2021
  • Interest rates are at historic lows
  • Delays in construction will increase costs due to inflation
  • In order for the referendum to be successful, 60% must vote yes

Referendum 2020 FAQ’s:

Who can sign the petition?

You must:

  • Be a citizen of the United States
  • Be a resident of Iowa
  • Live in the Southeast Polk CSD boundaries
  • Be at least 17 years old (must be 18 years old by September 8, 2020

An eligible elector may not:

  • Be a convicted felon (unless the felon’s voting rights have been restored by the president or governor)
  • Be currently judged incompetent to vote by a court
  • Claim the right to vote in any other place

Where Can I Sign the Petition?

There are Signing Station Locations at:

The District Office Front Foyer (new location is the old Altoona City Hall)
407 8th St. SE
Altoona, IA
Open from 7 am – 6 pm M-F

Altoona Campus Front Entrance
1500 8th St SW
Altoona, IA
Open Monday-Thursday: 5am-1pm and 3pm-8pm  |  Friday: 5am-1pm and 3pm-6pm |  Saturday: 7am-Noon  |  Sunday: Noon-4pm

Skinner Law Office
160 Adventureland Dr. NW, Ste B,
Altoona, IA
Open 9am-5pm

What is the Referendum Language?

“Shall the Board of Directors of the Southeast Polk Community School District in the Counties of Polk, Marion, and Jasper, State of Iowa, be authorized to contract indebtedness and issue General Obligation Bonds in an amount not to exceed $92,000,000 to provide funds to build, furnish and equip an elementary facility, a grade 6-7 facility, an administrative and support services facility, a buildings and grounds storage and bus parking facility, and a multi-purpose stadium facility, including parking and related site improvements; to acquire land for the elementary and grade 6-7 facilities; to improve the softball field site; and to equip and improve classroom instruction technology at its instructional facilities?”

What are the tax implications?

  • Will not raise district taxes
  • Fluctuating tax rates are hard on taxpayers – this will keep it stable
  • Provides a dedicated funding source for these projects

How much is the bond? Can the money be used to increase teachers’ salaries?

  • $92 million
  • Revenues from the issuance of General Obligation bonds can only be used for purposes allowed under Iowa Administrative Code 281.98 and cannot be used to pay teacher wages

Where is the land that you are looking to acquire? Where will each of these new buildings/ parking/storage be built? What will be done with the current buildings?

  • The District is actively looking to acquire land but in order to protect the District financially, these discussions will be held with the School Board in closed session as allowed by law and also with prospective landowners. The purchase of land will be done so in a public meeting.
  • The Buildings & Grounds storage and bus parking will be done at and around the existing department building sites.
  • The administration building will be built either at the old location just east of the junior high or on land currently owned by the District west of 70th Street in the Rising Sun area.
  • The multipurpose stadium will be nestled into the existing cross-country course just south of the high school.
  • Plans for existing buildings affected by these projects could include selling off the property or remodeling of the existing structure for purposes still being discussed.

Is now a good time to do this?

  • Issuing General Obligation bonds will not negatively impact property taxes for home and landowners. The school district tax rate will not be higher than the current tax rate of $15.44. In fact, over the past 6 years, the school district’s tax rate has been reduced by 29% due to fiscally responsible decisions made by the School Board and the administration team.

When is the election?

  • First, we need 1000 signatures by July 13, 2020, for Board to put the question on the ballot
  • Election Day is September 8, 2020

Check out the RAMS Rising – Referendum 2020 Facebook page for information about upcoming events and our progress.

RAMS Rising Referendum 2020 (2)