Next steps in Cedar Rapids after voters turn down school levy - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Next steps in Cedar Rapids after voters turn down school levy

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Wednesday was a disappointing day for several employees at Cedar Rapids Schools after voters said no to raising the district's Physical Plant and Equipment Levy (PPEL).

"Our facilities are getting older all the time," said Dr. David Benson, Superintendent. "We have been at the same rate for 40 years, and we thought it was time to ask the community to consider changing the rate."

The district didn't just ask voters to increase the rate -- they wanted to see it double, which would have increased property taxes. Voter turnout was 4.7 percent.

Many people we spoke with didn't know there was a levy question on the ballot. Several people agreed schools need money but don't think it should come from property taxes.

"I just don't think it's a good thing," said Kevin Rummells of Cedar Rapids. "People don't have the money to do it right now and it's just not a good thing."

PPEL funds pay for basic needs at schools. At Taft Middle School, recent projects include re-paving the driveway, which has happened in stages because there hasn't been enough funding to do it all at once. Other projects like making bathrooms ADA compliant and fixing the gym floor are also done but upgrading the bleachers will have to wait.

"All of those things that homeowners have to maintain, we have to maintain," said Benson.

Getting the funding for those projects likely means another trip to the polls.

The current PPEL term doesn't end until June 2015. All planned projects for next summer can still continue as planned.

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