AURELIA - Aurelia Community School District patrons will be asked to vote on a revised revenue purpose statement on April 3rd.
Voters in the Aurelia School District will cast their ballot on whether or not to continue the one-cent Local Option Sales Tax (LOST). This is a continuation of an existing tax. Originally, the LOST was determined by each county's retail sales and distributed to each school district in the county on a per pupil basis.
Today, the one-cent sales tax is statewide, and the revenues going to each school district are determined based on the retail sales across the state and distributed to each school district on a per pupil basis.
The extra one-cent tax has been a part of school funding for the past decade. This vote does not determine whether the statewide sales tax will go into effect -- the law is already in place. The one-cent school LOST sales tax will be collected statewide regardless of which or how many districts pass the measure. Each district must pass the tax in order to collect and utilize its share of the revenues.
The uses of LOST tax funds are limited, as explained in the revenue purpose statement on the ballot, and cannot be used for salaries, benefits or supplies. LOST funds can be only be used for infrastructure construction or remodeling, transportation, equipment, technology purchases and debt reduction.
The statewide funds have replaced the one-cent sales tax monies that Aurelia currently receives from Cherokee and Buena Vista County, generated by the School Infrastructure Local Option Sales Tax (SILO).
Over 75 percent of Iowa's school districts - including area schools - have already approved a revised revenue statement to enable the receipt of statewide funds beginning in 2014.
The Iowa Legislature approved the replacement of SILO with a statewide one-cent sales tax until 2029 with the purpose of distributing funds more equitably across Iowa. This is estimated to result in substantially more revenue for schools in rural areas.
Currently, the tax generates about $150,000 per year in the Aurelia Community School District.
Statewide sales tax funds must be utilized for infrastructure, just like the soon- to- be-expired SILO funds. The one-cent sales tax has been used to maintain, renovate and improve school facilities, purchase buses and vehicles, provide technology hardware and software and maintenance of grounds.
The recent Aurelia Fitness Center addition, upgrading to energy efficient lighting in all classrooms, and school bus purchases were among the items for which the Aurelia School District has used the one-cent sales tax.
"The flexibility to use the statewide one-cent sales tax to provide improved school facilities, transportation and technology would allow Aurelia to continue to offer quality opportunities to the students of Aurelia and Alta for many years into the future," Superintendent Lynn Evans said.
This vote does not determine whether the statewide sales tax will go into effect -- the law is already in place. Each school district in Iowa must pass the tax to collect and utilize its share of the revenues.