Oskaloosa Voters here will decide Tuesday whether the school district will levy additional taxes to pay for improvements at the school complex.
The money would be generated through the local option budget. The state authorizes school districts to supplement their general fund budgets by up to 25 percent for up to four school years through the local option.
Oskaloosa school officials plan to raise the district's mill levy by no more than 10 mills for the next four years. The current levy is 37 mills. A mill is $1 in taxes for every $1,000 in assessed property valuation.
Supt. Jim White said the money would help pay for the addition of six classrooms at the elementary school, a gymnasium at the middle school and a new home economics classroom at the high school. The project is estimated to cost $1.8 million.
"The main selling point as we see it is it's much more cost effective to use the local option budget than to have a bond issue because the state will pick up about 64 percent of the cost," White said. "With a bond issue, it's just about opposite. The state would pick up about 34 percent."
Enrollment in Oskaloosa schools has increased by about a third in the last five years, creating the need for more space, White said. The size of the graduating classes has swelled from 20 or 30 students to around 40 this spring, and last year's freshman class numbered about 60, he said.
The district has completed a number of improvements in recent years, including the $1.75 million middle school complex occupied in 1989, a $315,000 industrial arts facility and bus garage finished in 1990, and a $300,000 project last fall that renovated basement classrooms at the middle school and remodeled the old industrial arts area into music and science classrooms.
White said the district paid off all its bond indebtedness last year. The school board in May approved the local option budget to raise money for the new construction, but a protest petition was filed in June, forcing a vote on the issue.