Before the Board of Directors of Area Education Agency 267 \Petition for Reorganization
We, the undersigned eligible electors of the Forest City Community School District and the Woden-Crystal Lake Community School District, hereby petition the AEA 267 Board of Directors pursuant to Chapter 275, Code of Iowa, to conduct a hearing pursuant to section 275.15, Code of Iowa, and at that time to consider and approve the following petition. In support thereof Petitioners state:
1. The Forest City Community School District and the Woden-Crystal Lake Community School District should be reorganized into a new community school district known as the Forest City Community School District to include all of the current area of the two existing districts as set forth in Exhibit A (contact the District Office if you wish to receive a copy).
2. We believe that the proposed school district is not inconsistent with the reorganization plan developed by the AEA, but if the proposed reorganization does not conform in any way, we pray that the reorganization plan of the AEA be changed to conform to the proposed district.
3. That the Petitioners believe that all necessary studies and surveys that are a prerequisite for this proposed reorganization have been conducted.
4. The number of directors on the initial board shall be seven and they shall be selected pursuant to section 275.41, Code of Iowa (the alternative method of carryover appointments), six (6) directors initially appointed from the Forest City Community School District Board of Directors and one (1) initially appointed from the Woden-Crystal Lake Community School District Board of Directors. The number of directors on the regular board shall also be seven and shall be elected pursuant to section 275.12(2)(b) of the Code of Iowa, i.e. electors from the entire district voting for each director and division of the new district into four single member director districts each represented by a resident of that director district and one three member multi-member director district represented by three residents of that director district.
5. That neither of the Districts involved has approved the issuance of general obligation bonds at election pursuant to section 296.6, Code of Iowa in the preceding six months prior to the date of submission of this petition.
6. That the entirety of the assets and liabilities of the two Districts shall become the assets and liabilities of the newly reorganized District effective July 1, 2013, the proposed effective date of the reorganization with the exception of the existing bonded debt of the Forest City Community School District which shall remain the exclusive obligation of taxpayers residing within the territory of the historical Forest City Community School District prior to reorganization with the Woden-Crystal Lake Community School District.
7. That the proposed school district will have a combined enrollment in excess of the minimum enrollment prescribed by section 275.3, Code of Iowa.
8. That following hearing as required by section 275.15, Code of Iowa, and the approval of the AEA 267 Board of Directors, a special election should be held as required by section 275.18, Code of Iowa and that such other proceedings should be held as are required by Chapter 275 of the Code of Iowa in order to effect the reorganization that is requested in this petition.
Rick Engel, Attorney
Engel Law Office
6969 University Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50311
On Behalf of the Following Eligible Electors of the Forest City Community School District and the Woden-Crystal Lake Community School District.
What are the incentives from the State for Reorganization?
Subject to certain restrictions and requirements, districts that whole grade share and make progress toward reorganization are allowed to claim supplemental weighting and thereby receive additional funding for a maximum of three years. In the event the Districts then vote to reorganize, the Districts can claim an additional three years of supplemental weighting. Only if reorganization occurs, does this extra supplemental weighting (received from the state over the course of four years) equal up to $1.2 million to be applied to student academic programs. Also, certain Districts of less than 600 students that reorganize are allowed a foundation property tax break over three years reducing the foundation levy by $1 per $1000 assessed valuation in the first year, fifty cents in the second year, and twenty-five cents in the third year.
How will this affect Tax Rates?
Tax rates are always a big question in a school reorganization and it is very difficult to give patrons a solid number because of the combining of different variables that affect property tax rates. Using outside experts (Larry Sigel from Iowa School Financial Information Services and Iowa Department of Education’s Management Team) we determined the new tax rate from the 2012 fiscal year budget would be $12.32 for WCL residents and $13.36 for FC residents (based on current full assessed property valuations). This figure does not include property tax incentives for each district. We determine this figure to be an accurate estimation, however tax rates can change from year to year. This figure should be compared only to the rate of Woden-Crystal Lake or Forest City’s previous tax rates, as comparing to other districts is not an equitable comparison.
What about the debt of each District?
The Forest City Community School District will have an approximate 1.85 million of bonded debt remaining. This debt total is the result of providing for school building needs of students. In addressing this item in the re-organization petition, the Forest City Board of Education recommends to keep this debt with the Forest City Community School District as it is the responsibility of Forest City Community School District to pay for this bond.
When and where will the vote take place?
The date and location of an election is determined after hearing by AEA 267. The date and voting location will be published by the AEA in area newspapers. It is expected that current voting locations will be used. The second Tuesday in September is a likely date for voting if the petition and an election are approved to be held by the AEA.