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Cardinal voters renew PPEL

Cardinal Comets
Cardinal Comets

ELDON — Voters in the Cardinal Community School District passed a ballot measure Tuesday extending the school’s physical plant and equipment levy 10 years.

The property tax levy, which is $1.34 per $1,000 of assessed valuation, has been on the books for 20 years in the district, and now it will remain there until at least 2031.

“I’m so thankful to the patrons of Cardinal Community School for their continued support,” said Cardinal Superintendent Joel Pedersen. “We will continue to improve and work to make Cardinal one of the best districts in the state of Iowa.”

The measure passed with 58 percent of voters choosing to extend the PPEL, 223 in favor to 161 against. Pedersen said he was pleased that the measure garnered more than 50 percent of the vote in all three precincts that comprise the school district.

Agency: 85 yes, 77 no

Eldon: 111 yes, 61 no

Batavia: 26 yes, 21 no

Cardinal schools put the PPEL up for a vote in March 2020, a year before it was set to expire, and that vote failed 52 percent to 48 percent. Pedersen said he blamed himself for not communicating well enough to the public that the ballot measure was to extend an existing tax, not create a new one.

“I think I did much better communicating this time, letting people know it was an extension of a levy,” he said. “I think in general, people want to support their schools. We did a good job of trying to be transparent and trying to get accurate information out there.”

The PPEL will generate about $270,000 for Cardinal in the next fiscal year, about $480 per student. Pedersen said the district will likely spend the money on school buses, technology and routine maintenance of its buildings. Knowing that the district can rely on PPEL for another 10 years will help the district plan its projects, Pedersen added.