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Oakland-Riverside Voters head to the polls Tuesday


February 2nd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Patrons of the Oakland-Riverside School District will be heading to the polls next Tuesday, to vote on a $13.3-million bond issue. Jim Sutton, Superintendent at Oakland-Riverside said if approved, funds raised by the sale of bonds, would be used for a project that’s very similar to one proposed last Spring, which calls for the combining of their educational centers located in Oakland, Carson and Macedonia, into one building. Sutton said getting to this point has been a multi-year process. He says the Riverside School Board opted for another bond issue attempt because 53 percent of the voters supported the project last time around. According to Sutton, there would be a cost savings of close to $250,000 per year, by combining the educational centers. Those savings he says, could be used to pay for additional teachers. 

While the total cost of the project is around $21.6-million, Sutton says there will be $2.5-million in savings. He says there is also a little under $6-million which will be borrowed from the remaining sales tax that’s available. The district’s taxpayers will likely see an increase of $2.70 per thousand dollars taxable valuation, which will generate the $13.3-million dollars to pay for the project. Sutton says if you have a $100,000 home, it will cost about $11 more per month in taxes, or about $134 per year, to pay for the bonds, or about $2.25 more per acre of agricultural land. He says there are only six school districts across the State of Iowa with a lower tax asking rate than the Oakland-Riverside District, which is currently at $10.19 per thousand dollars assessed valuation.

Sutton says with interest rates at historically low levels, now is the prime time to lock in the bids for any new construction, and because the builders are being very competitive. At a public meeting held January 23rd, it was pointed out that the district has the money now to build the project as proposed, but it will not be able to have that money if it continues to spend sales tax money to add new roofs and elevators to outdated buildings that are landlocked, and it will add extra costs to the district in various other ways.