G-R Board Encourages YES Vote on “Public Measure E”
Reinbeck, Iowa – October 17, 2019 - With the November school election quickly approaching, the Gladbrook-Reinbeck Community School District’s Board of Education has taken decisive action to make it clear to the public that they are encouraging a YES vote on Public Measure E, also known as the SAVE Revenue Purpose Statement.
The ballot measure specifies how revenues from the recently re-approved “Secure an Advanced Vision for Education” statewide 1-cent sales tax (also known as SAVE) may be used by the district. It will not change the current sales tax rate. Citizens statewide will continue to pay the 1-cent sales tax even if the proposed ballot measure is not approved.
“Students and schools all across Iowa have benefitted greatly from the SAVE 1-cent sales tax that has been in place for the last ten years,” stated David Hill, district superintendent. “Now that the legislature and governor have extended SAVE until 2051, schools will be required to pass a new Revenue Purpose Statement in order to spend revenues collected under the new extension.”
Public measures like this one are on the ballot in numerous school districts across the state this fall as a follow-up to the Iowa Legislature’s recent extension of the statewide 1-cent sales tax. Notable districts pursuing ballot measures of this type elsewhere in the state include Waukee, Charles City, Clear Lake, Clinton, Norwalk, Center Point-Urbana, Knoxville, and all of the Cedar Rapids Metro Area districts including College Community, Linn-Mar, Marion Independent, and Cedar Rapids. Closer to home, area districts voting on nearly identical ballot measures this fall include Dike-New Hartford, Aplington-Parkersburg, Marshalltown, Wapsie Valley, Denver, and North Tama. All districts statewide are expected to follow suit in the next few years as the sunset of the current SAVE law approaches.
Revenue Purpose Statement ballot measures across the state are causing some confusion, with some making the false assumption that a YES vote will increase taxes. At its October board meeting, the Gladbrook-Reinbeck Board of Education passed a resolution encouraging a YES vote in hopes of clearing up any confusion. Hill stated, “I’m pleased that the board has decided to make it perfectly clear to the voters that a majority YES vote will NOT increase taxes in any way.” Hill explained that the ballot measure simply gives Gladbrook-Reinbeck the PERMISSION TO SPEND the revenues that it will already be receiving in the broadest ways allowed by law.
Iowa law limits the use of revenues from the statewide 1-cent sales tax to a list of specific types of uses – primarily for infrastructure and related purposes. Gladbrook-Reinbeck – like other Iowa districts – has worded its Revenue Purpose Statement to allow the district to spend future sales tax revenues on ANY expenditure allowed by Iowa law to allow for maximum flexibility.
Hill called the ballot measure a “no-brainer,” stating, “SAVE received bipartisan support in the legislature because folks on both sides of the aisle realized that it really has helped to keep property taxes down while allowing school districts to meet their long-term infrastructure needs.”
When asked whether it is legal for a school board to take a position on an upcoming ballot item, Hill responded, “Iowa Code section 68A.505 allows a governing body to express an opinion on a ballot issue through the passage of a resolution.” He added, “This resolution has been reviewed by the district’s attorney as well as staff at the Iowa Campaign and Ethics Disclosure Board, and both have found it to be within the parameters of the law.”
Voters will determine the outcome of Public Measure E in the November 5 school/city election, along with the selection of school board members, city councils, and mayoral races.
David Hill, Gladbrook-Reinbeck Superintendent