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School board votes to levy property taxes

T-R photo by Trevor Babcock Marshalltown Community School Board Secretary Paulette Newbold recommends the board to approve the budget adjustment resolution for 2021-2022 fiscal year.

Due to declining enrollment, Marshalltown Community School Board approved a budget adjustment resolution for the 2022 fiscal year levying property taxes to account for a drop in state aid.

According to the Iowa Department of Education, Iowa’s public schools saw an enrollment drop of 5,935 students during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Iowa Legislature during the current session passed a 2.4 percent increase in state supplemental aid to public schools for the 2021 to 2022 school year, but the drop in enrollment left the increase $50 million less in funds from the previous year.

“We had declining enrollment and that 2.4 percent increase is not enough to offset the declining enrollment,” Board Secretary Paulette Newbold said.

Because public schools receive funding from the state on a per pupil basis, 137 school districts expected to see a drop in state supplemental aid due to fewer students with Marshalltown schools among them.

This triggered the state’s budget guarantee for Marshalltown, a section of Iowa Code designed to soften the impacts of declining enrollment by allowing school districts to levy property taxes when state supplemental aid is not enough to reach a 1 percent increase from the previous year’s budget.

By using the state’s budget guarantee, MCSD will be able to reach a 1 percent increase from last year’s budget by collecting more in property taxes.

“We would have had to have a 2.75 percent increase in state supplemental aid to not be on the state budget guarantee,” Newbold said.

The last time the school faced declining enrollment was after the 2018 tornado, and was then placed on the state’s budget guarantee.

“Our amount for the budget guarantee this time around is $103,000, so it’s a little bit less than two years ago when it was like $260,000,” Newbold said.

The motion carried by a vote of six to zero, with board member Nicolas Aguirre not present for the vote.

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Contact Trevor Babcock at 641-753-6611

or tbabcock@timesrepublican.com.

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