IKM-Manning voters are asked to approve use of SAVE Funds for facility improvements in March 7 special election

MANNING — Voters in  the IKM-Manning School District will be asked to vote March 7 on the use of $7.9 million in school infrastructure sales service and tax revenue bonds for a series of construction and renovation projects at the Manning campus.
 If approved, the measure would use the Secure and Advanced Vision for Education (SAVE) monies, also known as the statewide one-cent sales tax for education, to fund the project.
 “The revenue bond (SAVE), will be used for a new multipurpose/gym, new locker rooms, a new commons area for our students to work in small groups, individuals, etc. Today’s students need to be able to collaborate and problem solve and we currently are limited in this space,” IKM-Manning Superintendent Trevor Miller said.
 “In addition, our STEM programs FIRE for the high school (a student ran business), can not expand due to we are out of space,” Miller said.
 “This program has allowed our students to have hands on experience, develop a business plan, fill orders for clients and budget revenues vs expenses.  In addition, our Spark-maker space program— which has also been awarded STEM BEST Grants and renewals— needs additional space as well. This will allow one of the areas that IKM-Manning is known for across the state to continue to expand.” 
 According to information provided by the school district, the measure would have no impact on property tax or sales tax rates for IKM-Manning residents. When borrowing against SAVE, districts are able to leverage up to 1.25x coverage on current revenues (which equates to 78%).  This will still allow the IKM-Manning District to have funds for technology, buses, and other allowable expenses that are covered by the Revenue Purpose Statement.  The Physical Plant and Equipment Levy (PPEL) will be used for maintenance and repairs that are necessary, the school district said.
 Miller said this measure differs from the two previous General Obligation bond votes that were not passed.
 “Our previous two General Obligation bonds would have affected property tax rates and were bigger projects. Our first bond was to move all students to one center site. Our second General obligation bond was to keep both buildings open and complete repairs and an addition to the Manning location.”
 “This plan is on a smaller scale as it is a Revenue (Sales Tax Bond) based on estimated enrollment and not property tax dollars. This is the area the school board voted for unanimously to help our district move forward and to provide our students with the educational experiences to prepare them for life after high school,” Miller said.
 On Tuesday, December 6, the IKM-Manning School Board held a public hearing and special board meeting regarding this proposed Sales Tax Revenue Bond. After public comment, the board unanimously approved the resolution to support the measure. 
 A December 7 press release from the school district stated, “This particular project has been discussed for a number of years as a solution for the lack of classroom and activity space for our students.  The Board and district leaders have been thinking outside the box to find ways to make improvements while not affecting the patrons’ taxes.”
 A statement issued by the school district stated “The district and board have carefully considered the economic conditions in our community, the fact is that we have pressing facility needs that we must address soon. Now is the time to move forward with addressing these needs in a way that does not impact our property taxpayers.”
 Miller said the proposed infrastructure improvements are part of a strategic plan approved this school year to help the district maintain their focus to the 5 Pillars that were created by the community, students, staff, and school board.
 The measure needs more than 50 percent of the voters approving it to pass, and officials noted it is different from a bond issue that requires 60 percent approval.
 Voting information
 The polling location for the March 7 special election for Carroll County voters is Sacred  Heart Church Hall in Manning. Crawford County voters will vote at the Manilla Fire Station. Shelby and Audubon County voters within the school district will vote at the Irwin Community Building. All polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
 In-person absentee voting is taking place for qualified voters at the Shelby County Courthouse in Harlan from now until 4:30 p.m. Monday, March 6.
 The deadline to request an absentee ballot is 5 p.m. Monday, February 20.



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