Improving Our Schools. Supporting Our Students.



The proposal to extend the Physical Plant and Equipment Levy (PPEL) was approved with more than 64% of the vote on November 5, 2019.

All of us at Des Moines Public Schools are grateful for the community’s support to extend the Physical Plant and Equipment Levy. Extending PPEL and aligning it with our metro neighbors is a positive step for DMPS on several fronts.

First, it will enable to continue to not only meet the maintenance and repair needs of our public schools, but will also provide the resources to increase student access to technology in the classroom. Second, it enables us to actually lower two other tax levies, so that the property tax rate will remain steady for property tax payers. Finally, it offsets some of the upcoming budget cuts we are planning for to help lessen the impact on our schools and classrooms.

Dr. Thomas Ahart

Many items we might own – a home, a car, a smartphone – require regular maintenance and repairs. A home may need a new roof. A car needs an oil change. Our smartphone apps need updating.

Now, imagine you own 71 buildings covering more than 6 million square feet, with an average age of 66 years and valued at over one billion dollars. Add to that the fact these buildings are there to educate and support our children. Maintenance and repairs are not an option, they are critical.

That’s where PPEL – or the Physical Plant and Equipment Levy – comes in, providing school districts in Iowa a way to pay for maintenance and repairs. PPEL can be used to improve school buildings and grounds, purchase technology and safety equipment, implement energy conservation measures, and buy items such as school buses and musical instruments.


But Des Moines Public Schools has been at a disadvantage for the past several years when it comes to PPEL. While voters in every neighboring school district have approved the maximum PPEL levy, Des Moines has not. That means DMPS is receiving 40% less revenue than it could when compared to our neighbors.

The Des Moines School Board has proposed a solution. Lower the district’s cash reserve and management levy and increase the PPEL levy for the next 10 years. The result? An improved ability to continue providing critical maintenance to school buildings while adding more tools, especially technology, to support the education of our students without raising the tax rate on Des Moines homeowners.

Students in Des Moines deserve the same resources as students anywhere in Iowa. PPEL helps to make that possible.