Hinton School District Vote on Revenue Purpose Statement for Expenditure of State Sales Tax for School Infrastructure and Property Tax Relief:
On March 7, 2023, school patrons will have an opportunity to vote on a new Revenue Purpose Statement to direct the district’s spending of state penny sales tax revenues on improving school facilities, technology, and equipment for our students. This vote does not impact your sales taxes; this only directs how those sales tax revenues will be spent.
Here’s a little history: The sales tax was originally passed on a county by county basis. By 2008, voters in all 99 Iowa Counties had approved the local option sales tax for this purpose. In 2008, the Legislature changed the local option into a state penny sales tax to equally benefit the students in all school districts. This state penny was originally set to expire in December of 2029. Since school districts typically bond as far out as 20 years for infrastructure projects, school districts were increasingly asking their voters to approve property-tax backed bond issues. In 2018, the Legislature and Governor extended the state penny through 2051, providing districts with a revenue stream into the future that was predictable and sufficient for bonding purposes. As part of the extension, districts are required to renew their Revenue Purpose Statement (RPS), which restricts our school district to those uses approved by voters in our district. Approval of the Revenue Purpose Statement will help us plan for the future how best to use the additional revenues the extension provides for our schools. The state will continue to collect the penny on retail purchases through 2051 and will continue to send the proceeds to all Iowa school districts, on a per pupil basis, every year.
The Revenue Purpose Statement requires school districts to determine how they plan to spend the sales tax money and provides a way for our school board to communicate those intentions to all of you in our community. The school board has passed a resolution approving the new Revenue Purpose Statement, which states how the district must use the sales tax funds. The voters have a chance to weigh in on that revenue purpose statement at the election on March 7, 2023. The statement must follow Iowa law. Our district can only use the funds for specific purposes described in law as school infrastructure and property tax relief. The law limits the uses to construction, reconstruction, repair, purchase of equipment, technology and buses, and other infrastructure and property tax relief needs defined in the Iowa Code which voters will see stated on the Revenue Purpose Statement and ballot. The Iowa Secretary of State defines the ballot language for the revenue purpose statement and requires our ballot to follow that standardized format.
Since the Revenue Purpose Statement will direct district expenses for a long time, through 2051, the statement preserves some flexibility for a future board to operate within the constraints of the law and consider additional projects or equipment purchases that otherwise would take future property taxes to fund. In most cases, other school districts have language which lists all legal uses of the state penny revenue. This practice preserves future flexibility similar to the revenue purpose statement that the voters will consider on March 7, 2023. In our district, our school board will continue to conduct facilities and equipment needs assessments along the way. Our school board members today, and in the future, will review those assessments and any future actions to undergo facilities projects or technology or equipment expenditures will be done with a publicly noticed school board agenda and public meeting. If today’s school board or a future school board plans to obligate sales tax revenues beyond the current year’s annual revenues, the law requires we hold a public hearing so district patrons can provide feedback and listen in on the discussion. If the board’s proposal is too far adrift of what our local constituents expect, there is an opportunity for voters to gather petition signatures and either require a vote of the public on that proposed obligation or the school board can rescind their proposal.
During the duration of the sales tax, the school board has understood the need of balancing taxpayer relief and student needs for safe, technology-ready facilities designed for student learning. This balanced approach rewards the district’s taxpayers for their commitment to the district and keeps the district’s facilities in good repair, avoiding a buildup of delayed infrastructure needs that would require the district patrons to consider additional property taxes in the future.
For additional information on the change in law and the revenue purpose statement process, contact Superintendent Ken Slater at email@example.com or call (712)947-4329.