A new auditorium and pool at Central High School.
Intruder locks on every classroom door across the district.
Air conditioning in every school.
These are some of the projects completed by the Davenport Community School District, thanks to funds availalbe through the statewide penny sales tax.
The tax, which generates $13 million for the district, is primarily used by the district to fund facilities and infrastructure projects outlined in its 10-year facilities plan.
Now, the district is reaching out to the voters to make sure it can continue to use those dollars in the way they have been used.
Proposition “D” on the Tuesday, Sept. 10, ballot for the school board elections will ask voters to approve the district’s Revenue Purpose Statement, which directs how the district will spend the funds received from the penny sales tax and extends that use until 2029.
Marsha Tangen, the district’s chief financial officer, stressed that this is not a new tax.
“This doesn’t give us a free pass or anything like that to do something,” she said. “It’s just an extension of what we’ve been using it for. We’d like to continue to use it for those same things.”
A simple majority of voters is required to pass the measure. If it does not pass, the district can place it on the ballot during the 2015 school board elections.
In 1998, Scott County voters approved the local option sales tax. In 2008, the state Legislature replaced it with the statewide penny sales tax that is set to expire Dec. 31, 2029, unless the Legislature decides to extend the date.
Also in 2008, voters in the Davenport district approved a revenue purpose statement that was set to expire in 2019.
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If voters ultimately vote down the extension, the state will then have control over how the district can spend that revenue.
For example, the state would require the district to first use its Physical Plant and Equipment Levy, or PPEL, funds, which amount to $5.5 million a year, before dipping into sales tax money, which ultimately would result in less funding for the district, Tangen said.
Tangen said the district uses its PPEL funds for smaller projects and maintenance items, such as asphalt repair and window replacement, while sales tax dollars areused for “big-ticket items” such as school expansions and major renovation work.
Among the major projects funded through the sales tax dollars are safety upgrades to the schools, which include creating secure entrances, upgrading new video cameras with a central management system and installing intruder locks on all classroom doors.
Tangen said some future projects the district is looking to complete, among others, are to replace the air-conditioning systems at Wood Intermediate and Truman Elementary schools, renovation of pick-up and drop-off points at some schools and work at Brady Street Stadium.
She said all projects on the district's 10-year plan must be approved by the school board.