PPEL – Physical Plant and Equipment Levy
The Ankeny Board of Education voted to order an election on the question of continuing to levy a voter-approved physical plant and equipment property tax at the August 7th board meeting. The board set Tuesday, November 7, 2023, as the date for a public vote on the renewal of the district’s Physical Plant and Equipment Levy (PPEL).
The PPEL is a levy that can be used for many expenditures, including the construction or renovation of buildings, purchasing property, equipment over $500 in value, and energy conservation expenditures.
Since the last renewal, PPEL has been instrumental in the district’s efforts to keep older buildings at the same standard as new construction. It is used to fund critical projects, such as safety enhancements, outdoor classrooms and playground repairs, establishing safe and welcoming spaces inside schools via paint projects, classroom technology such as voice amplification and ceiling-mounted projectors, radon mitigation, special education needs, and more.
Hear about some of the specific projects previously funded by PPEL in the webinar link below.
1. Will the resources be used for maintaining current buildings or is it for building more buildings?
PPEL is used primarily for replacement and upgrades for systems as they become cost prohibitive to maintain and for adding new systems and equipment as student needs and technology evolve. Our goal is to have all buildings and systems meet the standard set with new construction.
2. Allowing that students may be leaving to attend private schools, are there projections for continued growth, or do we just hope to maintain the status quo in the Ankeny district?
While some families will choose to use educational savings accounts, Ankeny continues to attract new residents, and the Ankeny Community School District offers students opportunities unmatched by neighboring public and private schools. Enrollment is projected to continue to increase, although not as rapidly as the last decade.
3. What percentage of the resources will go into current classrooms for student/teacher benefits?
Approximately 68% of the PPEL budget over the next five years is allocated directly to building improvements such as HVAC, roofing, carpet and paint, playground equipment, tuckpointing, special education updates, and safety and security.
The remaining 32% is budgeted for athletic improvements, vehicles, print shop and custodial equipment, which enrich the student experience and provide a positive environment for learning.
4. Who will be allowed input as to how the money is spent? Will this just be a determination from the administration and board?
The district’s strategic plan calls for a comprehensive facility audit every other year to update and prioritize the project list. District leaders prioritize those needs as 1-3 year, 3-5 year, and 5-10 years needs. A stakeholder committee analyzes the results of the facility audit and the needs identified by leaders and prioritizes them based on impact, urgency, and funding.
The audit examines school site, structural and mechanical features, plant maintainability, safety and security, educational adequacy, and the environment for education. In addition to the facility audit, administrators and activity directors are asked to identify needs for their building based on the same criteria as the facility audit.
5. What is the current enrollment, and what do you expect it to be in 2 years, 5 years, and 10 years?
This data was provided to the district in November of 2022. The district will have updated enrollment projections in late November of 2023. Past, Current, and Future Enrollment Bar Graph
6. What are the limitations to the district's growth based on the ability to expand the physical size of the district? Note: some of the other districts are land-limited for growth.
The boundary of the City of Ankeny and the boundary of the Ankeny Community School District are different. While the city regularly annexes new land into the city, the district boundaries are fixed unless the boards of neighboring districts agree to a change. While there is housing development outside of the district boundaries, there remain significant opportunities for growth within the district boundaries. The district contracts with a demographer to provide annual updates to enrollment projections.
7. Where can Ankeny residents find additional communications to citizens answering questions about PPEL?
A press release was sent to local media outlets on Tuesday, August 8. The district has created a page on the AnkenySchools.org website dedicated to PPEL information. A podcast will be released in late September hosted by Dr. Erick Pruitt and will include guest speakers related to finance and operations. All Ankeny residents will also receive information through the mail. This mailer will include information about requesting an absentee ballot (postmark deadline Oct. 23) and polling place information (November 7).
Ankeny families should look to their school building and district e-newsletters and Ankeny Schools’ social media for updates to PPEL and “did you know” facts about PPEL. Finally, everyone is invited to participate in a PPEL webinar scheduled for October 9th at 5:30 pm. The link to the webinar will be posted in various public locations.
8. What will PPEL resources be used for over the next 10 years?
Ankeny Schools has prepared a renovation and improvement schedule for the next 10 years that will include:
- Equipment and software for cybersecurity
- A/V updates in auditoriums for streaming
- Flooring updates in multipurpose rooms at ACHS and AHS
- Updates to security systems including cameras and servers
- Refinishing the gym floors
- Playground safety and accessibility updates at all elementary schools
- Playground shelters at all elementary schools
- Updates to fire systems at all buildings
- Annual updates of roofing, paint, carpet – schedule rotates through all facilities
- Updates to special education classrooms based on student needs and new legislation
- Repaving of parking lot at Northview
- Annual concrete repairs, leveling, and addition of needed sidewalks
- Replacement of eight tennis courts and resurfacing of eight tennis courts
- Updated fire panel at the current Orbis space
- Renovation of kitchen at Parkview to make it a full production kitchen
- Landscaping at all buildings
- Upgrade printers and copiers at all buildings
- Upgrade all classroom projectors
- Upgrade network infrastructure
- HVAC replacement at Northwest elementary
- Resurface all competition tracks
- Replace field turf at three facilities (10-15 year lifecycle)
- Team room at stadium
- Replace district vehicles
- Upgrade custodial equipment
- Environmental mitigation (radon, asbestos
- Updates to wayfinding signage in all buildings
- Furniture, fixtures, and equipment for the Innovative Secondary Hub
- Non-instructional software
- Annual replacement and upgrade of HVAC components
- Radios and antennas for security
9. What were they used for in the last 10 years?
Here is a partial list of projects funded by PPEL in the past 10 years:
- Neveln Center renovation
- Updated classroom door hardware for security
- Common space sound systems
- Upgraded scoreboards
- Updates to special education classrooms based on student needs and new legislation
- Leader In Me Program paint and environmental upgrades
- Lease payments for DMACC TrailPoint pool
- Staff laptops
- Voice amplification in all classrooms (allows teacher to heard in room through ceiling speakers)
- Classroom projectors
- Phase I and II of NV Stadium Renovation – new bleachers on west side, new concessions areas and restrooms, new entryway and ticket booths
- Part of PV Phase II Renovation
- Terrace transition to Preschool facility
- HVAC replace at various sites
- Roof Repairs at Northview, Southeast, Northeast & Terrace
- Painting & Flooring at Northview, PR, AR
- Safe entries at various facilities including Prairie Ridge Middle School’s new entry
- Paving & concrete repairs yearly
- Vehicle replacements
- Annual playground equipment & surfacing yearly
- Gym floor resurfacing yearly
- Painting and flooring renovation at Parkview, Prairie Ridge, Northeast, Crocker, and, Northwest
- Card access at various locations
- Cameras at elementary schools
- LED lighting in various locations
- Interior security cameras at 10 elementary schools
- Remodel kindergarten bathrooms
- Playground fencing district-wide
- Westwood skylight and brick replacement
- CHS athletic field improvements
- New playground East, Northeast, Northwest, Rock Creek, Southeast
- Kitchen updates at various buildings
- Front office remodel at Southeast
- Landscaping at various buildings
- Prairie Ridge boiler replacement (HVAC)
- Parkview generator upgrade
- District-wide Special Education room upgrades
- Career center & office reconfiguration at AHS & ACHS
- Parkview renovations Phase I, II & III
- Orbis improvements
- Safety procedures on exterior windows
- Fire panel replacement and upgrade
10. What percentage of votes are needed to pass?
Majority plus one of the total votes cast.
11. Why are we voting to renew now if the current levy doesn't expire until 2025?
We are asking voters to renew now in order to coincide with the board election cycle to avoid the expense of a special election. This is the last regular school board election prior to the levy’s expiration on June 30, 2025. Should there not be a majority vote in favor of renewal this fall, the timeline also allows the board an opportunity to bring the question before voters again by calling a special election prior to expiration.
2. Are there cameras in the school to monitor the halls?
The district has a significant number of security cameras inside and outside of each school. These cameras are not monitored during the day, but they provide needed assistance in investigations and during crisis response.