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School district critic McCourt implores Catholics to vote “no” on September 10th on levies

Jack McCourt wants a whole lot of "no" votes on September 10th on two new tax levies the Mason City School District wants passed on property owners.
Jack McCourt wants a whole lot of “no” votes on September 10th on two new tax levies the Mason City School District wants passed on property owners.

MASON CITY – In the wake of financial numbers released – and explained – by the Iowa Department of Management’s Statewide School Finance Officer, Lisa Oakley, that show the Mason City School District with $8.8 million in funds left over after the 2014 fiscal year, NorthIowaToday.com Publisher Matt Marquardt honored an interview request with long-time school district critic Jack McCourt.

Marquardt had phoned Ms. Oakley on Thursday, August 8th in search of “some straight talk, some real answers,” on the true financial status of the Mason City School District (MCSD), which is pursuing two tax levies against property owners on the September 10th ballot.

NIT published the information Ms. Oakley had disclosed for the 2014 fiscal year.

Ms. Oakley said that the MCSD will have estimated revenues of $49 million for fiscal 2014. The MCSD is also carrying forward a balance of $27 million dollars.  For fiscal year 2014, the MCSD has roughly $76 million at its disposal with a budget (total expenditures) of $67 million.  She confirmed that after the 2014 school year, again a rough estimate, the MCSD will have a $8.8 million surplus or funds left over.

Ms. Oakley also described how MCSD takes in “millions” of dollars each year in federal aid and other sources.  Some of those sources include: tuition, earnings on investments, grants, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and other federal sources.

Ms. Oakley also said that the MCSD has a long-term debt of $54.935 million.

Mr. McCourt had urged Marquardt to call Ms. Oakley in Des Moines and discuss with her the financial condition of the MCSD.

Presented with the information, Mr. McCourt, as always, had a very pointed opinion.

“The school board … is telling a big phony BS,” Mr. McCourt stated, referring to MCSD officials painting a somewhat dire portrait of the district’s finances.

“How many millions do they need to spend?” McCourt asked.  “Once they pass that levy, it never goes away.”

Mr. McCourt implored Catholic voters to vote “no” on September 10th.

“You Catholics in Mason City … help the poor and the elderly including your religion that pays property tax in this town, to defeat those two levies.”

See video conversation:

httpv://youtu.be/s3YC_9ktbvE

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