The Marcus-Meriden-Cleghorn school board listened Monday evening to a presentation from Matthew Gillaspie, vice president of PiperJaffray of Des Moines on how the board could finance a building project of about $3.2 million. Gillapsie presented two different plans the board could consider.
The board decided to go with the plan that requires a 60 percent approval of the voters with a potential of a zero-tax increase with SILO (School Infrastructure Local Option tax) abatement.
This is the one-cent sales tax that is already in place across Cherokee County. The SILO sales tax began July 1, 2004 and has a 10-year sunset. To extend beyound July 1, 2014, the the voters of the county will have to approve an extension of the tax for a maximum of another 10 years, up until 2024. For the SILO revenue to be used for the entire life of a bond, the tax would need to remain in place until 2027.
The benefit of this plan is that 100 percent of the Physical Plant Equipment Levy (PPEL) will be free to be used for other purposes. The board also learned that if the $400,000 in savings accumulated by the district be used towards down payment. The first year's payment will be reduced and the PPEL will not have to be increased as much as it otherwise would have to be increased.
For anyone who has been following the board's spending record, they should realize the board has been very frugal with their dollars reducing the district's budget by $100,000 two years ago and over $170,000 last year. Superintendent Jan Brandhorst noted the board was aware of forthcoming fuel prices and other cost increases. They took actions to help with the unknown. As a result, the budget for 2005-06 was projected to be around $280,000 in the red but with reductions in the budget, the red tag is at $158,959.
The district has about $1 million carry-over, some of which will be used to take care of the bills. MMC has a good high solvency rate.
The board feels the district needs to greatly improve their kitchen facilities as well as bring the fourth grade back to Marcus. The Cleghorn building is quite crowded. In addition, it would be good to have a third classroom built for fine arts use for the elementary students.
In addition to a kitchen and three classrooms, the board is looking to have a decent size common area which will also be available for community activities. Another need is a weight exercise room and storage areas.
The board recognized retired Tom Hueser for his years of service as a bus driver. The board hired Leo Hupke as junior high football coach for the coming season.