Letter to the Editor

Letter to the editor

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Itís important to know that there is a special election coming up in the River Valley Community School District. On December 11, residents can vote on a Physical Plant and Equipment Levy (PPEL).

Like a bond issue or referendum, a voted PPEL asks community members to vote yes or no to

increasing the districtís revenue limit, allowing it to move ahead on specific facilities projects.

However, unlike a bond issue, any funds generated through an approved PPEL may be used only for infrastructure and equipment repairs, purchases and improvements.

An approved PPEL would mean the district could move forward on targeted projects in four key areas.

The first is advancing learning environments that prepare students for the future and ensure the long-term viability of the district's facilities through improved systems and technology. To that end, we would look to repair ceilings and flooring, replace lockers and modernize classrooms with up-to-date technology. Plans also call for reconfiguring HVAC systems, updating cameras and making improvements to the wellness center, track, playgrounds and interactive media centers, among other items.

The second area is security, an important issue for today's schools. Our schools are currently very safe, but we believe that updating cameras and a new door lock system would provide even greater security for our students, staff and families.

Thirdly, we must continue to find ways to prepare students for the jobs and opportunities of the future. This means incorporating technology into our classrooms via interactive SMART Boards, new computers and science lab equipment that allows for hands-on learning experiences.

Finally, the district needs to make some upgrades to its buses and other school vehicles. These include eight buses, four suburbans, two vans, two pickup trucks and an SUV, along with a truck and plow for snow removal. The PPEL would also fund about $100,000 for buses with seat belts.

One common question we hear from community members relates to the PPELís property tax

impact. The question on the ballot will ask voters to approve a 10-year levy increase that will not exceed $1.34 per every $1,000 of assessed property value. It would not raise local property tax rates beyond their 2018-19 levels. In fact, we project the 2020 overall tax rate will drop from $12.4961 to $12.2285 per $1,000 of assessed valuations. Also, the Income Surtax for the Instructional Support Levy will decrease from 10% to 4%.

Additionally, if passed, the PPEL would allow the district to collect approximately $191,000 in additional revenue annually over the next 10 years. All revenue generated will go toward the targeted facilities improvements and upgrades only.

More information and a full list of the targeted projects is available at http://bit.ly/RiverValleyPPEL .

Gaylen Goettsch

School Board VP

River Valley School District