Physical Plant and Equipment Levy Proposal Questions and Answers

On Monday, December 17, 2018, the Keokuk Community School Board passed a resolution to submit to our voters a request to levy a Physical Plant and Equipment Levy for the purpose of raising funds for maintenance and updates to our facilities.  Below are questions and answers regarding this proposal.

Question 1:   Why does the district need these funds?

Answer:         The intent of this Physical Plant and Equipment Levy (PPEL) is to help us maintain, repair   and upgrade district facilities.  As part of our  strategic plan, one goal includes effective resource management.  Keeping our facilities in good condition is part of effective resource management and involves evaluating our facilities for long and short-term needs.

Question 2:   What specific facility needs does the district have?

Answer:    The most pressing current needs include:

  • Demolition of the old Jefferson School building
  • Replacement to part of Hawthorne Elementary’s roof
  • Replacement of the Keokuk Middle School roof
  • Replacement of plumbing pipes at Keokuk High School
  • Replacement of roof on the welding shop at the high school
  • Replacement of the HVAC system at Hawthorne
  • Brick repair at Torrence Pre-School.
  • The press box at Calvert Stadium is in great need of repair  
  • Additionally, there are space issues that need to be addressed in the fine arts area of the high school.

Question 3:  Can money just be taken out of the district’s general funds to do these repairs?

Answer:    These repairs will need to occur, and the district will need money to do these repairs.  However, if the money comes out of the general fund, then that is considerably less money that the district will have to spend on instructional services.  Because schools in Iowa have not seen increases in funding to keep pace with inflation, district dollars are stretched to the limit.  The state has given district’s the ability to utilize this Physical Plant and Equipment Levy to help offset the cost of major repairs and maintenance and to upgrade technology.

Question 4:  Will this raise my taxes?  This levy would replace the debt portion of our tax rate, which was passed in 2000, for the building of the new Middle School.  This current bond will be completely paid off in the summer of 2019.  So, essentially, the $1.34 per $1,000 of property value, that has been in place for the past 20 years (when the middle school was built), will end in June.  The voted Physical Plant and Equipment Tax Levy will take the place of that bond, for the same amount of $1.34 per $1,000.

Question 5:  How long a Physical Plant and Equipment Levy would be in place. 

Answer:  Iowa law allows a voted PPEL to be in place for ten years.  Voters may extend it for an additional ten years if they so choose.

Question 6:  What other ways could this money be used?

Answer:  The board has identified upgrades to technology and building security as two district priorities that potentially could be addressed by this levy.  Also, new buses could also be purchased with PPEL funds if this was identified as a need.

Three community meetings have been set up to help answer additional questions regarding this upcoming vote on February 5th.  The meetings will be held in the Torrence Preschool gymnasium.  Meeting dates and times are as follows:

Thursday, January 17th at 6:00 pm.

Thursday, January 24th at 9:00 am.

Wednesday, January 30th at 6:00 pm.

The superintendent is also available to speak to any local groups about this issue.  Feel free to contact the central office anytime, at (319)524-1402 x1616 with questions or to set up a time to meet with groups or individuals.  Thank you for your support of our district and the children of our community!