Sioux City public schools asking voters to approve tax levy to raise $45M over 10 years

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SIOUX CITY, Iowa — Sioux City public school district officials are warning that if voters reject a proposed tax levy later this year, the district could be forced to ax plans to build a new elementary school.

A special election on Dec. 2 seeks a new levy to raise $45 million over 10 years to help fund several new elementary schools and renovate Sioux City's three high schools, the Sioux City Journal reported (http://bitly.com/1nEKoAO ) Saturday.

If passed, the levy would increase property taxes by about $70 a year for a home valued at $105,000.

School officials say the special levy is needed as a 1-cent sales tax approved in 1998 for school infrastructure is set to expire in 2018.

That sales tax has funded the building of more than 10 schools since 2002.

But four projects remain to be funded, including construction of the new Bryant Elementary School, set to open in 2020, Superintendent Paul Gausman said.

"There's only enough money between now and when (the 1-cent sales tax) expires to build two or maybe three of the projects," Gausman said.

Jim Daane, a former school board member and advocate for the proposed tax levy, said it would help build the city's property tax base and also attract new families to the city with improved and new schools.

"At this point, it could be 15 to 20 years before we are going to be in a position to use new sales tax money," he said. "In the meantime, we're going to have parents look at competing districts. This is not 20 years we can afford to give away."


Information from: Sioux City Journal, http://www.siouxcityjournal.com

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