Tri States Public Radio Staff
Thu July 30, 2009
Tax Plan on Ballot in Fort Madison
Fort Madison, IA – The Fort Madison School District will again seek public approval for its plan for spending money generated by a state-wide sales tax.
The Iowa Legislature created the 1% tax to replace a local option sales tax that was in place in every Iowa county. The state-wide tax requires school districts create a new plan for how they will spend the money.
The Fort Madison School Board has agreed to place the revenue purpose statement question on the September 8 ballot. Residents overwhelmingly voted against the statement one year ago.
Superintendent Ken Marang says the district would have more options for spending sales tax revenue with the statement in place. He says a much better public awareness campaign must take place before the vote.
The special election comes about as the district looks at a new school building.
The Fort Madison School Board is expected to vote, next month, on whether to build a new school for 4th-8th grade students. The most-likely building, which was designed by faculty and staff members, would have one wing for 4th-6th grade students while the other wing would include 7th-8th graders.
The plan calls for Denmark Elementary School to be closed and for two other school buildings to be used for younger students.
Marang says the district could build a new school, without a new revenue purpose statement, because of its current financial status. The new school would be built on about 100 acres of land the district owns on the city's west side.