A $31 million bond issue that would be sued for school upgrades in the Marion Independent School District will go to a public vote scheduled for March 2nd, according to the Cedar Rapids Gazette. 

In order to get the bond issue up for a vote, the district had to gather 386 signatures on a petition, plus an additional 100 signatures to have a satellite voting site set up at Vernon Middle School prior to the election. The Gazette reports that the petition turned in Thursday had 585 signatures. During Thursday night's school board meeting, Superintendent Janelle Brouwer thank the community, school board members, and the Facilities Advisory Committee for circulating the petition for signatures.

According to the Gazette, the plan includes the building of a new auditorium and outdoor activities complex at Marion High School, repairs to the high school, a new elementary school that would replace Starry Elementary, and renovations to Francis Marion Intermediate school. Brouwer told the Gazette that the projects would be completed in four to five years.

In the state of Iowa, bond issues require approval by a super majority. That means 60% of more of voters will need to vote 'yes' on March 2nd for the measure to pass. The school district will fund the rest of the plan with a 1 percent sales tax already in place and with property taxes.

The Gazette reports that officials stress that the plan is tax neutral for Marion residents, meaning that the bond can be repaid without raising property taxes. The district says that it has paid down its debt, so that the debt tax levy could be reduced. With the bonds, it would remain the same.

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