(Shenandoah) -- Shenandoah school officials say financial information released regarding the district's upcoming bond issue referendum is accurate--despite comments at a public hearing disputing the numbers.
By a 4-to-1 vote late Monday afternoon, the Shenandoah School Board approved a resolution ordering an election on a $14.7 million bond issue on a proposed expansion and renovation of Shenandoah High School November 5th. Also approved was the issuance of approximately $5.8 million in School Infrastructure Sales, Services and Use Tax Revenue Bonds to cover infrastructure improvements at the high school connected to the bond issue projects. Board members took action following a public hearing, during which a citizen questioned the accuracy of a recently-released financial fact sheet regarding the bond issue. Specifically, Joyce Morgan disputed homestead credit information.
"The estimated homestead credit--which says it can be the maximum amount--is $4,850," said Morgan. "But in Page County, nothing comes close to that, so that number is extremely eschewed."
Shenandoah School Superintendent Dr. Kerri Nelson told Morgan officials with Piper Jaffray Companies in Des Moines developed the information. Listed as a U.S. investment bank and asset management firm, Piper Jaffray serves as financial consultants for numerous school districts and municipalities across the state. Nelson contacted Piper Jaffrey officials following the meeting, seeking clarification on whether the information was accurate.
"Travis Squires is the one we work with," said Nelson. "I did send him a clarifying email after our meeting tonight (Monday), "just to ask him to please verify once again that that is accurate. I have no reason to dispute that it is, but if somebody asks a question, I think it's good to double check and verify, because that's only fair. If we're sharing information about what something costs, I think we need to do due diligence, and find out."
In a return email to Nelson, Travis Squires, managing director of the company's public finance group, stated numbers on the financial fact sheet are accurate. Squires' email states, quote, "the mathematical impact is that it lowers taxable valuations by $4,850. However, it doesn't show up that way on the tax statements, it shows up as a credit." Squires further stated that homestead credits are only valid for primary dwellings.
One other note: the board has set a special meeting for Wednesday afternoon at 3:30 p.m. to accept Kip Anderson's resignation as a board member.