School district levy to drop again

The proposed levy for the next fiscal year for the Fort Madison School District is down for the fourth year in a row. Photo by Chuck Vandenberg/PCC

Early figures show residents could pay $11.61 next fiscal year, down from $12.19

BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
PCC EDITOR

FORT MADISON – Fort Madison school district residents will see a lower tax rate for the fifth straight year.

At a budget presentation on Monday night during a special Fort Madison Community School District Board of Directors, District Business Manager Sandy Elmore told the board that preliminary numbers have this year’s levy set at $11.61/$1,000 of assessed valuations for the next fiscal year beginning July 1.

That number’s down about 58 cents from the current fiscal year.

The levy rate is a compilation of the general fund levy of $8.52, an instructional support levy of .78; a management levy of .63; a 10-year voted Physical Plant Equipment Levy (PPEL) at $1.34; and a regular Physical Plant Equipment of .33. The levy is projected to generate $9,289,779 in property tax dollars off a district valuation of $806,017,224.

Elmore said the some additional changes from the legislature have resulted in a steeper drop in the levy.

“If things were identical and the only that happened was the valuations changed, our rate would have went from $12.19 to $11.96, so there’s 22 cents is coming about due to property tax valuation, but we’re not levying as much due to the formula and some other changes the legislation passed,” Elmore said.

The valuation increased $16.9 million from 2021-22, which includes $124,314 from Henry County property within the school district, $1,431,424 from Des Moines County and $779,377,01 on property in Lee County.

The voted PPEL was a voted in in 2020 and is good for 10 years and will fall off in the 2030-31 fiscal year.

Property taxes are just one portion of the district’s annual revenues, which also included State Supplemental aid which this year is set at $7,408 per pupil. The district has a certified enrollment of 2,046.4 students.

That formula then generates $15,159,731 in state aid. The state also has a guaranteed budget formula was is equal to 101% of the previous year’s state aid calculation per district. That number totaled $15,178,832 based on current fiscal year numbers, so the district is allowed to levy for the difference – or $19,101.

Board president Dianne Hope said the district residents should advocate for state formula support for public education to keep property tax dollars down.

HOPE

“This is another reason for taxpayers to advocate to our legislators to take education funds out of budget surplus vs. having it passed on to property taxes,” she said. “I don’t think people recognize that. I don’t think our legislators recognize that from my conversations with one of them.”

In other action, the board of directors also approved several resolutions to trigger the issuance of $10 million in bonds against future SAVE fund revenues (Secure an Advanced Vision for Education), or the state’s 1 cent SAVE taxes.

The bonds will be used to pay for renovations at the Fort Madison Middle School and High School to accommodate all students being moved into the two buildings and retiring the district’s elementary schools.

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