Voters will decide April 2 on $30 million referendum.

FORT MADISON — The Fort Madison School Board on Monday adopted a resolution ordering a special election on the issuance of a $30 million general obligation bond.

The question that will appear on the April 2 special election ballot will ask voters to give the school district permission to issue a general obligation bond not to exceed $30 million to build, construct, furnish and equip a new elementary building, as well as construct traffic and ground improvements on the site.

This will be the fourth referendum the district has put on in an attempt to acquire the financial resources necessary to erect a new elementary building to replace it's two existing ones, which are 101 and 83 years old.

The district came close to gaining the needed voter approval last April, when 59.24 percent of voters cast ballots in favor of the issuance. School districts in Iowa, however, are required to obtain supermajority approval of 60 percent plus 1 before they can issue general obligation bonds.

The proposed project differs from that of previous years in that the money that previously would have been designated to relocating the baseball and softball fields from the high school to the 95 acres of land the district owns at Bluff Road and 48th Street instead will be allocated for traffic and site improvements, such as stop lights and additional turn lanes to adjacent roads.

The change in the plan's proposal came following input from more than 100 people who attended a community feedback forum on the subject, as well as those who submitted responses to questions about the plan via an online survey. About 75 percent of respondents indicated they preferred not to include the fields, while more than 75 percent indicated they would approve of the traffic improvements to the proposed location for the elementary school, which is next to the middle school.

The property tax impact is yet unclear as property valuations in the district have increased since the previous referendum, meaning the property tax impact needed could be less than those estimated previously, when the property tax impact on a $75,000 home would have been an additional $36 per year for 20 years.

Residents also will be asked to vote for two people to fill school board seats now held by Brian Steffensmeier and Josh Wykert, both of whom were appointed to their seats by the school board.

School district residents interested in running for those seats should submit documentation to the Lee County Auditor's office.