Johnston Residents to Vote in Special Election on School Funding

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JOHNSTON, Iowa — Tuesday, Johnston residents are being asked to vote on two proposals both involving funding for the school district. 

The proposals are the SAVE  Revenue Purpose Statement and the Physical Plant and Equipment levy, otherwise known as PPEL.

SAVE RPS describes how districts can spend the one-cent sales tax that the legislature has dedicated to Iowa schools. Johnston receives approximately 6.8 million dollars per year. With voter approval, Johnston is hoping to extend this penny sales tax for the next 20 years. 

PPEL is one of the primary revenue sources for funding school infrastructure and technology resources. A portion of a levy of $1.34 per 1,000 assessed valuation is dedicated to PPEL. The district is hoping to extend this levy for the next ten years. 

Neither SAVE RPS nor PPEL will raise taxes if approved. There will not be a direct reduction of the $1.34 if PPEL is voted down, since the tax rate is made up of multiple levies including the general fund, management, and debt. 

The Director of Communications for Johnston’s Community School District, Laura Sprague, said SAVE RPS and PPEL are critical in making sure students have the best resources. 

“It’s what’s allowed us to be a one-to-one iPad district pre K through 12. We saw that come in, you know very useful to start at the pandemic,” Sprague said. “We didn’t have to scurry around or turn new wheels to be there. We were already there thanks to this funding. Now we just need to keep these things maintained and updated.” 

Johnston Community School District has been using these funds for its new high school building construction, building renovations, HVAC updates, and baseball and softball fields. 

Without these funds, the district will be forced to take from its general fund, which will impact Johnston’s employee salaries and benefits. 

“We don’t ever want to be in the position of having strong competing interests in the general fund. So in all senses of a good budget, when we can continue to have separate buckets to pay for great facilities that really works out the best for teachers, staff, students and families,” Sprague said. 

Johnston Community School District needs a 50% simple majority to keep receiving funds, polling places are open from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Here is a list of the six polling sites for Johnston residents:

  • Zion Lutheran Church
  • Grimes United Methodist Church 
  • Johnston City Hall 
  • Crown Point Community Center 
  • Stoney Creek Hotel & Conference Center 
  • Johnston Public Library  

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