Greene Co school board approves sale of bonds for construction project

Approves regular levy slightly less than published

Greene County school district voters got a bit of a break Wednesday after approving a $21.48 million bond issue last week that will require an additional debt levy of $2.70 (per thousand dollars of taxable valuation).

The school board at a special session April 11 approved the 2018-19 budget with a levy rate (excluding debt levy) 19 cents lower than what was published in the legal notice of the budget. That budget, which was reviewed by the board in March, called for a levy rate of $12.69 (per thousand).

Superintendent Tim Christensen said at the April 11 meeting that after the bond referendum was approved, he and business manager Brenda Muir looked closely for budget reductions that would allow them to reduce the levy. They calculated a budget with a lower cash reserve levy and a lower management levy, bringing the levy rate to $12.50.

The board also approved a resolution authorizing the issuance of not to exceed $21.48 million in general obligation bonds. The bonds will pay for the new high school and repurposing the current high school as a middle school.

With both the regular levy and the new debt levy, property owners will pay $15.20 (per thousand) in school taxes on residential property.

Members of the Our Kids, Our Future – Greene County committee joined the school board in accepting a token “check” representing the $4.5 million Grow Greene County Gaming Corporation has pledged for the gymnasium and performing arts center at the new high school.

The Greene County Schools board and members of Our Kids, Our Future – Greene County, accept a token of a $4.5 million pledge fro Grow Greene County Gaming Corporation.

The school board went into closed session to discuss the purchase of property for the new campus on Highway 30 east of Grimmell Road.

Sid Jones, who with Chris Deal crafted the project and then was a primary force in the campaign in support of it, told the media and voters several times that the negotiations for the purchase of the property were amicable and in good faith. He said the cost of the property was within the estimated budget for the project, and that the final price would be fair to the seller and to the district.

The Code cited for moving into closed session allows a governmental body to go into closed session “to discuss the purchase or sale of particular real estate only (emphasis added) where premature disclosure could be reasonably expected to increase the price the governmental body would have to pay…”

GreeneCountyNewsOnline asked superintendent Christensen Wednesday afternoon about the need for a closed session, given what had been publicly stated during the campaign leading up to the bond referendum. Christensen responded that the board attorney had verified that was a correct use of Iowa Code.

The pre-written motion to go into closed session, which cited Iowa Code 21.5 1(j) (almost verbatim) and was read at the meeting by board member Sam Harding, omitted the word “only”.

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