School repairs, property tax rate at stake in Tuesday's Cedar Ra - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

School repairs, property tax rate at stake in Tuesday's Cedar Rapids PPEL vote

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CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) - McKinley Middle School, like many other schools in Cedar Rapids, has been around for decades.

Upkeep can be costly, which is why the district wants to raise it's Physical Plant and Equipment Levy (PPEL).

"If it were your home, it would be the maintenance and repair part of your budget," said Scott Drzycimski, Chair of Renovating & Improving the Student Environment (RISE), a group of parents supporting the hike.  "This is fixing bathrooms that need to be updated. It's fixing parking lots and sidewalks to make sure they're safe."

RISE is pushing voters to approve an increase to the district's PPEL rate Tuesday, doubling it from $0.67 to $1.34.

That will raise property taxes by about $37 per year for someone whose home has an assessed value of $100,000.

This same issue was on the ballot last year and failed. Voter turnout was low and a lot of people told us they didn't know there had been an election. That's something that parents' group has been working to change this time around.

"A friend told me," said Jeanne Towell, who lives in Cedar Rapids. "She was emailing a bunch of people to let us know and make sure we would get out and vote."

"I found out through the mail and also power schools sent a message and left it on our home answering machine," said Beth Pruessner, who lives in Cedar Rapids.

Still, those who did vote last time around said they didn't want to pay more.

Some people who know about this election say they're undecided.

Supporters are hoping people show up and vote yes.

"It's a very small part of the school budget," said Drzycimski. "It's a very small part of the taxes that you pay if you're a homeowner. But it does very critical things for the schools."

To learn more about the PPEL vote, click here.

To see what projects would be done at each school if approved, click here.


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