Physical Plant & Equipment Levy FAQs – Special Vote 9-13-16

The Muscatine Schools’ Board of Education has approved bringing to the voters a special vote to continue the Physical Plant & Equipment Levy (PPEL). This levy has been in effect for over 30 years in the Muscatine Schools and has helped to fund infrastructure projects such as the new Jefferson Elementary and the new wing at MHS! (The current PPEL will expire in 2020.)

FAQs about the Physical Plant and Equipment Levy:

  • What is PPEL?
    • PPEL – or Physical Plant and Equipment Levy – is a voter-approved 10 year special revenue fund for Iowa school districts to help pay for the purchase of equipment and maintenance of buildings, grounds and other infrastructure.
  • How can the PPEL monies be used?
    • Payment of debts contracted for the erection or construction of schoolhouses or buildings
    • Purchase and improvement of grounds and construction, repair, remodeling, school houses or buildings and roads to serve them
    • Purchase, lease or lease purchase of equipment or technology
    • Procuring or acquisition of library facilities
    • Energy conservation
  • Does Muscatine have a PPEL?
    • Voters have approved a PPEL for over 30 years and it is still in effect, but must be renewed by 2020 to avoid a lapse in funding.
  • What is PPEL NOT used for?
    • By law, PPEL cannot be used for salaries, travel, classroom materials (i.e. supplies, textbooks, etc.), other printing or media services
  • Do other districts have a PPEL?
    • Yes – nearly every 4A school district in eastern Iowa has passed this levy.
  • How is the district planning to use new PPEL funds?
    • The district follows a ten-year facility plan that helps drive budgeting for upcoming infrastructure needs for the upkeep of its buildings which includes: roofing, HVAC systems, security upgrades, etc.
    • The 1:1 computer initiative for grades 6-12 comes from PPEL funds along with the upkeep and maintenance of computers and software district-wide.
    • The district plans to build a new gymnasium entrance at the high school along with updated physical education facilities utilizing future PPEL monies and is looking at Phase 3 and 4 of the MHS Renovation Project which includes new science classrooms to help our students be ready for post-secondary employment and education.
  • How is PPEL different from the Statewide School Infrastructure Tax (the state penny sales tax)?
    • The Statewide School Infrastructure Tax – or ‘one cent’ tax as it is sometimes referred to – is generated through a tax on sales and services, not a specified levy per household. The one-cent tax is used as a capital improvement fund where PPEL is a maintenance fund. The district has utilized the local one cent tax in funding major building projects throughout the district including the new Jefferson Elementary, the new wing at the high school, the resurfaced road at the high school, etc.
  • What happens if the voters don’t approve the new PPEL
    • Should a PPEL not be passed, money for needed repairs and routine maintenance would come from the SILO monies. This would greatly reduce and alter nearly all projects, while completely eliminating others.

Here in Muscatine, PPEL is a 30+ year funding source used by the school district in maintaining adequate learning facilities for students. PPEL allows the district to maintain a predictable funding stream to plan/manage projects efficiently and effectively.

To hear more about PPEL and the future needs of our schools, come to one of two community forums.

Thursday, September 1 at 6:30 p.m. at Jefferson Elementary in the Commons

Tuesday, September 6 at 6:30 p.m. at MHS in the new wing – the big Muskie “M”

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