To the editor:
Our school board is asking for a 67 cent increase on the current PPEL tax. Let's do the math - it turns out that on a $100,000 home in Fort Dodge, the additional cost per year would be just $33.50, which is less than $3 a month.
Having well-maintained school buildings so our kids can receive a first-class education is a responsibility all of us have as citizens of this fine community. We have five public elementary buildings; one is 100 years old, three others are at least 50 years old and the newest building in the district is now 11 years old. We also have a 50-year-old high school building. Maintenance on these older buildings increases every year. PPEL funds are critical to maintaining these facilities.
In addition, our schools need to constantly upgrade their technology to remain relevant. 21st century education uses technology as a new and effective learning tool. Our kids deserve to have the same learning opportunities that students have in Des Moines, Ames, Iowa City and other places throughout the state.
Finally, our school buses need to be well maintained and the old ones replaced and that impacts students in both school systems. Without PPEL funding, these costs have to come out of the general fund, which means our school system would have to cut staff to maintain our buildings.
We are fortunate to have two quality school systems in our community. Today, our public school is asking for our support. Even with this modest increase, we are paying less in taxes for our schools than we were four years ago. The quality of any community is often judged by the quality of education it provides its youth. We all agree that our students should have the chance to attend first-class schools. It's an obligation that each generation has for its youngest generation. As a proud community, we need to step up and support PPEL. I hope you will join us in voting "yes" for the physical plant and equipment levy on Tuesday.