Legislation That Would Force District Cuts or Increased Property Taxes

Notice to the Ames community,

In 2013, the Iowa Legislature reduced local commercial property taxes. To replace the income lost by Iowa cities, counties and school districts, the state provided a “backfill” where state dollars replaced local property tax income that were lost due to the commercial property tax cut.

Next year, the state backfill will provide $1,316,906 to the Ames Community School District. Leaders of the Iowa House and Senate have said they plan to eliminate the backfill, beginning with the budget year starting on July 1 of this year.

What does this mean for the Ames Community School District? The Iowa legislative proposal would mean $1.3 million in budget cuts for the 18-19 school year. The majority of those cuts ($996,000) would have to come from the general fund. It is unclear if the legislature will allow school districts to replace the lost revenue with property taxes. If this is the case, the District would be forced to reduce expenditures including, but not limited to, teaching staff (resulting in increased class sizes), support staff, and enrichment programs for kids.

On Monday night, the Ames school board will consider a resolution opposing the reduction of the backfill for the 2018-2019 school year. That opposition will be communicated to the Iowa Legislature and to Governor Reynolds. The Ames Community School District believes that any changes to the backfill should be decided with the participation of local government and school leaders.

The District believes that this bill is moving quickly through the legislature.

The following people represent the Ames Community School District:

Jerry Behn – jerry.behn@legis.iowa.gov

Herman Quirmbach – herman.quirmbach@legis.iowa.gov

Beth Wessel-Kroeschell – beth.wessel-kroeschell@legis.iowa.gov

Lisa Heddens – lisa.heddens@legis.iowa.gov

Rob Bacon – rob.bacon@legis.iowa.gov