Newton school board supports use of SAVE funds for baseball field project

·2 min read

Jul. 30—Unless residents gather enough signatures to successfully petition against the proposed baseball field project for Newton Community School District, the school board is all but set to move forward with the new infrastructure addition and have it be paid with revenues from the Secure an Advanced Vision for Education fund.

The Newton school board on July 25 approved a resolution supporting the use of SAVE revenues for an athletic facility infrastructure project, which is currently estimated to cost about $2.75 million. The facility would be a new baseball field located next to the current softball complex near H.A. Lynn Stadium.

In order to successful petition the project, residents must collect signatures. The petition must be signed by eligible electors equal in number to but not less than 100 or 30 percent of the voter turnout at the last school board election, whichever is greater. The 2021 school board election saw 10,236 votes cast.

Which means residents would need about 3,071 signatures.

According to the resolution, in the event a petition contains the required number of valid signatures and is filed with the secretary of the school board on or before close of business on Aug. 8, the president of the school board must call a meeting to consider rescinding the resolution or submit it to a special election.

In which case voters would have the final say on whether the Newton school district would use SAVE funds on the construction of a new baseball field and related improvements. Newton Superintendent Tom Messinger told Newton News this process is the result of changes made by the Iowa Legislature years ago.

"If you were going to use SAVE dollars — or what is called the penny sales tax — if you're going to use that for athletic facilities that were not attached to a student attendance center, then you have to go through resolution to be able to use those penny sales tax dollars for that purpose," Messinger said.

Provided a fully signed petition is not submitted to the board by the deadline, the school board will then move on to another public hearing to determine the details of the project itself. The committee overseeing the baseball field project will meet one last time to give recommendations to board members.

Contact Christopher Braunschweig at 641-792-3121 ext. 6560 or cbraunschweig@newtondailynews.com