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East Mills ISL Extended 5 Years

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By Joel Stevens, Associate Editor

    MALVERN - The East Mills Community School District Board of Education has approved a renewal of the district's Instructional Support Levy (ISL) for an additional five years.
    The board unanimously approved the extension of the special levy following a Nov. 21 public hearing.  The ISL may be used to boost the district’s “general fund” for general operating costs, the purchase of additional curriculum, such as textbooks, workbooks, software, technology and other supplemental education materials for students. The money generated by the levy cannot be used for construction, food service programs, salaries or any other “non-general fund” purpose.
    The district will garner $289,024 from its ISL, based on 10 percent of the district’s regular programs costs for the fiscal 2011-2012 school year. ISL revenue is gathered via a levy of a maximum 10-percent of the district’s regular program costs from local property and income surtaxes, or a combination of both.
    East Mills Superintendent Curtis Barclay said the board will split how it receives its ISL revenue from 80 percent on income surtax and the remaining 20 percent coming from property taxes. Barclay said those figures remain the same from the previous ISL calculation.
    “It’s a renewal of an existing levy so there will be no tax increase,” Barclay said, adding that the property tax figures represent approximately 64 cents per $1,000 of taxable valuation on a district property.
    The East Mills Community School district is comprised of the former Malvern and Nishna Valley School Districts. They were re-organized as one district last July and their respective levies combined.
    “The way it works on reorganization is you look at every levy you have and if both districts had it, which both districts did, you keep it,” Barclay said. “But it expires when the earliest of the two district’s separate ISL’s expire. It was time for Nishna Valley to renews their ISL so East Mills had to renew theirs.”
    East Mills School District residents have until Dec. 18 (28 days from the school board’s renewal of the ISL) to challenge the resolution and force a public vote. If put to a public vote, more than 50 percent of district voters would have to approve the resolution for passage.
    East Mills chose to renew the levy prior to certifying next year’s school budget in order to maintain an “adequate and consistent source of funding to operate the school district,” Barclay said in a prepared statement.
    Just a handful of Iowa districts do not utilize the ISL. The Glenwood Community School district passed its ISL for 10 years last February through a public vote.