Tuesday is PPEL election for Newton voters

Newton and Kellogg voters have an important decision to make on Tuesday with regard to the future of the Newton Community School District’s Physical Plant and Equipment Levy.

According to the Iowa School Board Association, “PPEL is a special revenue fund providing a maximum of $1.67 per $1,000 of assessed valuation.  The board may approve 33 cents annually in property tax; and/or hold an election for up to $1.34 for a period of up to 10 years and funded by property tax or property tax and income surtax.”

During the Jan. 28 school board meeting, District Business Manager Gayle Isaac expressed the need to renew the fund and explained items the district uses the funds for.

“Every year, we do the five-year capital improvement plan,” Isaac said. “It tells you how we are using the funds. Typically, we are buying school buses. We spent $150,000 in technology, and with the school buses, we are running around $180,000 … we do a lot of boiler replacement, air conditioning replacement, roof repairs, some of the infrastructure (maintenance) — we replaced the windows here at Berg just this summer.”

Also during that meeting, NCSD Superintendent Bob Callaghan explained the importance of PPEL to school districts.

“PPEL is the way that we keep our facilities up, and we just want to make sure that the board knows and can express to the community that this is an extremely valuable component to our school finance,” Callaghan said.

The Jasper County Auditor’s Office confirms the Jasper County Community Center, located at 2401 First Ave. E., will serve as the sole voting precinct on Tuesday for the election and the polls will be open from noon to 8 p.m.

If voters chose not to renew PPEL on Tuesday, other potential future election dates are Sept. 9, 2014; Feb. 3, 2015; and June 23, 2015; according to the district.

The district’s current PPEL levy expires on June 30, 2016.

Senior staff writer Ty Rushing may be contacted at (641) 792-3121, ext. 426, or at trushing@newtondailynews.com.