Alta-Aurelia School Reorganization Information and FAQ

Posted by Lynn Evans on 8/25/2017 4:15:00 PM

Alta-Aurelia School Reorganization Information

Alta and Aurelia School Superintendent Lynn Evans

On Tuesday September 12th, the vote for school reorganization will take place. After 7 years of successful sharing, we are preparing to create a newly formed Alta-Aurelia School District.  These are truly exciting times!

When patrons go to vote, they will actually find TWO ballots to be approved by the public on September 12th.  

The first one, "Reorganization Ballot Proposition A" is to approve the reorganization of the Alta Community School District and the Aurelia Community School District to become the newly formed Alta-Aurelia Community School District.  This is the vote for reorganziation.

The second one, "One-Cent Sales Tax Revenue Purpose Statement Ballot Proposition B" is to approve a Revenue Purpose Statement for the use of funds received by the school district for the expenditures allowed in law.  Currently, both Alta and Aurelia have separate Revenue Purpose Statements.  These become invalid with the newly formed district so this needs to be approved by the public for the newly formed Alta-Aurelia Community School District. If not approved, the new Alta-Aurelia Schools can not legally spend the revenue received from the state-wide one cent sales tax.

It is NOT a new tax.  We are already receiving the funds from the statewide penny tax (which is formally called the State of Iowa Secure an Advanced Vision for Education fund or SAVE).  We use these funds to purchase computers and other forms of educational technology, buses, small vehicles, maintain buildings and grounds, replace roofs, and pay for remodeling, renovations, and construction projects.  By using the dollars from the statewide penny for these projects, we are able to keep propery taxes low for our patrons.

Will my property taxes go up?

The short answer is "No."  The first three years, you should actually see your property taxes go down.  Part of the financial incentives to reorganize is a $1 reduction in property taxes the first year. The tax rate comes back incrementally over the next three years. Even after those first three years, property taxes will remain at the low rate we have become accustomed to.

Alta has a Debt Service Levy (Bond Issue). Who's going to pay that off?

The Alta School District passed a bond issue in 2001 to construct the part of the building that contains the gymnasium and classrooms originally used for middle school (now converted to high school rooms). This bond issue expires at the end of fiscal year 2021.  Payment of this Debt Service Levy will remain with the tax payers in the historical Alta School District until paid off (one fiscal year after reorganization would begin).  Reason for this is that the bond issue was passed solely by Alta taxpayers and Aurelia taxpayers did not have the opportunity to vote on the special levy. Also, it will be paid off only one year after the reorganization. The current rate of the Alta Debt Service Levy is $1.20.

How will the School Board be made up?

After the reorganization vote passes,  a seven member transitional board will be formed from existing board members.  Four members appointed from the Alta School Board, two members appointed from the Aurelia School Board and one member appointed unanamously at-large. This make-up is determined solely by school district population.  For the year prior to the reorganization beginning, this board will work solely on the reorganization issues.  During this time BOTH the Alta School Board and the Aurelia School Board will remain intact.  So for one year we will actually have three school boards, Alta, Aurelia and the transitional board.  

In July of 2019, the seven member transitional board will be reduced down to a five member board consisting of existing board members. This new board will serve as the first Alta-Aurelia School Board. Three members will be appointed from the Alta Board, one appointed from the Aurelia Board and one appointed unanamously at-large.  This board will remain in tact and in effect for the first two years of reorganization. After the first two years of reorganization new members will be voted on as current member terms expire.  Terms will be staggered so not all member terms expire on the same year.  This means no major change in board governance until the 2021 election.  New members will be voted on at-large.

What changes will happen after reorganization?

Since we have worked hard to operate as one school system from the beginning and run efficiently as possible the past seven years, we anticipate no change in service or grade alignment in the immediate future.  To the students, parents and staff there will be major no changes seen.  We will look for additional efficiencies in transportation and other operational services but in the classrooms and buildings the day after reorganization will look just as it did prior to reorganization.

We currently need all of the educational space and buildings we are using to serve students. There are approximately 475 students being served in the Alta building and approximatley 315 students being served in the Aurelia building. Both buildings are running at capacity with a little room for growth.  Both facilities are needed and will continue to be needed as we are anticipating enrollment to remain stable to slightly increase over the next few years.

In future years, when the opportunity arises to become more efficient in how we deliver education or become more efficient in operations, they will be explored and acted on as needed.

All patrons living in the Alta and Aurelia school districts are encouraged to get out and vote on September 12th.  Absentee ballots are being accepted. Contact your county courthouse for information on absentee ballots.  These are exciting times and we appreciate the communities' continued support.

If there are any questions or comments, feel free to contact Mr. Evans at either the Alta Community School or Aurelia Community School.