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Living in Society

Solon Schools: A Bond and Two Board Seats

1,515 students attend four schools in the Solon Community School District this year. There is a $25 million bond referendum election in March, and a school board election in the fall.

I plan to cover both elections.

The school board terms of Adam Haluska and Jami Wolf expire this year. Neither has formally announced whether they intend to seek another term.

The school does well on key statistics, beginning with a student:teacher ratio of 16:1. The district ranks in the top five percent of districts in the State of Iowa, top ten percent in math proficiency, top five percent in reading/language arts proficiency, and 95 percent of students graduate. While less diverse than an average Iowa K-12 school system, it maintains a seven percent minority enrollment with 33 students of two or more races, 58 Hispanic students, eight Asians, and seven blacks. The school system attracts young families to the area. For these reasons and more, I expect the community to support the bond referendum.

The special election for the bond is set for March 7, 2023. The district posted an explainer about the bond referendum here. The lengthy language on the ballot is as follows on the Johnson County Auditor website:

Public Measure LX
Shall the following public measure be adopted? 

Shall the Board of Directors of the Solon Community School District in the Counties of Johnson and Linn, State of Iowa, be authorized to contract indebtedness and issue General Obligation Bonds in an amount not to exceed $25,500,000 to provide funds to construct, furnish, and equip an addition to Solon Intermediate School building and improve the site; to renovate, remodel, improve, repair, furnish and equip Lakeview Elementary building and improve the site; to renovate, remodel, improve, repair, furnish and equip the Transportation Center; to construct, furnish, and equip a new Administrative building and improve the site; to construct, furnish, and equip a new multi-purpose indoor activity facility and improve the site; and to install a new field at Spartan Stadium?

Public Measure LY
Shall the following public measure be adopted? 

Summary: To adopt a Revenue Purpose Statement specifying the use of revenues the Solon Community School District will receive from the State of Iowa Secure an Advanced Vision for Education Fund.

In the Solon Community School District, the following Revenue Purpose Statement which specifies the use of revenues the Solon Community School District will receive from the State of Iowa Secure an Advanced Vision for Education Fund shall be adopted. 

To provide funds to acquire or install information technology infrastructure (including improving buildings or sites for the purpose of accessing broadband digital telecommunications) and school safety and security infrastructure. 

To provide funds to build and furnish a new school building or buildings; to build and furnish addition(s) to school buildings in the District; to remodel, reconstruct, repair, expand, and improve the school buildings in the District; to purchase and improve grounds; for demolition work; to furnish and equip district facilities. 

To provide funds for the purchase, lease or lease-purchase of buildings, equipment (including transportation and recreation equipment), or technology and to repair transportation equipment for transporting students as authorized by law, to implement energy conservation measures, sharing or rental of facilities including a joint infrastructure project for the purposes of offering classes under district-to-community college programs as authorized in Iowa Code Section 423F.3(3)(c), procuring or acquisition of libraries, or opening roads to schoolhouses or buildings. 

To provide funds to purchase land as part of start-up costs for new student construction program or if the sale of the previous student construction was insufficient to purchase land, and to purchase construction materials and supplies for a student-constructed building or shed intended to be retained by and used by the District. 

To provide funds to make payments to a municipality or other entity as required under Iowa Code Section 403.19(2). 

To provide funds for demolition, cleanup, and other costs if such costs are necessitated by, and incurred within two years of, a disaster. 

To provide funds to establish and maintain public recreation places and playgrounds; provide for supervision and instruction for recreational activities; or for community education purposes. 

To provide funds for the payment of principal and interest or retirement of general obligation bonds issued for school infrastructure purposes, energy improvement loans, loan agreements authorized by Iowa Code Section 297.36, sales, service and use tax revenue bonds issued under Iowa Code Section 423E.5 or Iowa Code Section 423F.4. 

To provide funds for property tax relief; and

To provide funds for other authorized expenditures and purposes as now or hereafter permitted by law and designated by the Solon Community School District. 

It being understood that if this proposition should fail to be approved by the voters, such failure shall not be construed to terminate or restrict authority previously granted by the voters to expend receipts from the Secure an Advanced Vision for Education Fund. 

If approved, this Revenue Purpose Statement shall remain in effect until replaced or amended by the Solon Community School District. 

Public Measure LZ
Shall the following public measure be adopted? 

Shall the Board of Directors of the Solon Community School District, in the Counties of Johnson and Linn, State of Iowa, for the purpose of purchasing and improving grounds; constructing schoolhouses or buildings and opening roads to schoolhouses or buildings; purchasing of buildings; purchase, lease or lease-purchase of technology and equipment; paying debts contracted for the erection or construction of schoolhouses or buildings, not including interest on bonds; procuring or acquisition of libraries; repairing, remodeling, reconstructing, improving, or expanding the schoolhouses or buildings and additions to existing schoolhouses; expenditures for energy conservation; renting facilities under Iowa Code Chapter 28E; purchasing transportation equipment for transporting students; lease purchase option agreements for school buildings or equipment; purchasing equipment authorized by law; or for any purpose or purposes now or hereafter authorized by law, be authorized for a period of ten (10) years, to levy annually, a voter-approved physical plant and equipment property tax not to exceed One Dollar Thirty-Four Cents ($1.34) per One Thousand Dollars ($1,000) of the assessed valuation of the taxable property within the school district commencing with the levy for collection in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2027, or each year thereafter?

There will be additional posts as the election dates approach.

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