CLEAR LAKE — Clear Lake Community School District voters head to the polls on Tuesday to not only vote on school board candidates, they’re also being asked to vote on a Physical Plant & Equipment Levy of $1.34 per $1000 of taxable value of property. The school district has had a PPEL levy of some sort in place since 1992 and it’s currently at a rate of 67-and-a-half cents.
Superintendent Doug Gee says they are able to use PPEL funds for technology, safety equipment, buses, equipment and to put towards construction, repairs or remodeling. “We’ve got ourselves in a position where it’s not going to increase the tax levy rate as far as the school tax levy rate. Just with inflation and the things that are happening, we just need that extra money to be able to do the things we want to do.”
Despite a large number of students open enrolling into the school district, Gee says that doesn’t automatically mean that the district gets all the funds they would with an in-district student. “Our certified enrollment, which is resident enrollment, has been decreasing slightly every year, but we’re getting more kids open enrolled in. We have right at 300 kids open enroll into our district this year, but we don’t get PPEL money, we don’t get SAVE money, the sales tax money, and those are both things that are used to buy technology, to buy the things we need, so we need that extra PPEL money to do that if we want to continue to have the equipment and technology that our kids need and deserve.”
Gee says keeping up with technology in the classroom is important. Every one of our kids has technology, has it 1-to-1 piece of technology. Every four years we have to replace those. Every one of our classrooms has a smartboard or some sort of touchscreen-type board in the classroom. Every seven years we replace those. Those aren’t cheap, so we need that extra money to be able to do that for our kids.”
== In the school board race, four people are running for three spots on the board. Incumbent Michael Moeller is joined on the ballot by Talitha Allen, Abby Bauman and Andrew Young.