Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

Local News

October 23, 2013

School facility tax proponents hoping third time a charm

SHELBYVILLE — With many local school districts feeling the impact of state funding cuts, a new tax meant to capitalize on Shelby County tourism could help pay for facilities and maintenance.

”Some people have referred to it as a Wal-Mart tax,” said Shelbyville Superintendent Denise Bence of the facility sales tax, which would tax an additional 1 percent on luxury items such as clothing, electronics and home goods would bring the money to schools to improve facilities. “In Shelbyville, we’re hoping that some of the tourism helps us pay for supporting our schools, so it’s not all falling on the local residents.”

Residents have rejected a tax hike for schools in Shelby County twice, but Bence said the key to passing such a hike would be educating the public on where exactly the money would be going and that the tax would not affect unprepared food, medicine, farming equipment, vehicles, gasoline or property.

“I just think more information needs to get out to the outlying (parts of the) county,” she said. “I think there are new superintendents and maybe just a fresh approach to getting the information out there to the Cowden-Herricks, the Central A&Ms and the Stew-Stras community. There just needs to be more information.”

The question cannot go before voters until it is approved by districts representing more than 51 percent of the students in Shelby County. With the goal of getting the tax on the March primary ballot, superintendents throughout the county are preparing to educate their communities on the needs of their districts.

Stewardson-Strasburg Superintendent Michele Lindenmeyer said while the board has yet to vote on whether or not to support the tax, she said the key will be educating the community on exactly what it would be paying for and how they would be paying for it.

“It’s not necessarily taking a ‘vote yes’ stance, but we’re taking a role to educate the community so they can make a sound decision based on the facts,” she said. “You hear the word tax, and you cringe before you even hear the message, so we want to make sure that they know what it is.”

Lindenmeyer said she understood the conflict some Stewardson and Strasburg residents may have about the tax after the district had campaigned heavily for a property tax referendum in the spring but stressed facility sales tax would mainly target Shelby County tourists, potentially those visiting Lake Shelbyville.

“The thing is making sure we educate that this isn’t a property tax, but it’s a sales tax,” she said. “It’s an opportunity to get people from Chicago who are going to the lake to help pay for our schools. It’s kind of a way to improve your school and have other people pay for it.”

Cowden-Herrick Superintendent Darrell Gordon said he thought the key to getting the tax would also be community education. He said the roofs at the district would need to be repaired and the money potentially coming in from the tax could add about $100,000 to the district’s facilities budget. It also would allow the district more financial freedom to pay for repairs in an emergency.

“I love the 50/50 matching grants, but you need money to get them,” Gordon said. “That’s something I look forward to is the opportunity to get these 50/50 grants.”

Jackson Adams can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 131, or at jackson.adams@effinghamdailynews.com.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Cathy-beach closed.jpg Beach conditions worry EWA

    Effingham Water Authority is putting the operator of Lake Sara beach on notice after health code violations have kept the beach closed for the past couple of years.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Soybeans favored over corn

    The United States Department of Agriculture is projecting that farmers nationwide will plant more acres of soybeans this year than ever before.

    April 15, 2014

  • Water service to be interrupted for some Effingham residents Tuesday

    Water service will be interrupted along the following streets, starting at 9 a.m. Tuesday to repair and replace water main valves.

    April 14, 2014

  • Grant to make Dieterich sidewalks more accessible

    A Dieterich pedestrian accessibility project will receive $800,000 as part of transportation grants being given throughout the state.

    April 13, 2014

  • Farming accident claims life

    A Mulberry Grove man was killed instantly Saturday when a tractor he was driving flipped over on him while working on his property.

    April 13, 2014

  • Hodge.jpg Drug enforcement focus of new ISP commander

    Illinois State Police  Zone 7 Investigations Interim Commander Kelly Hodge will now head two districts as commander of Effingham-based District 12 and Carmi-based 19.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Nicole Dominique.jpeg Opinion: A pointed lesson

    Kids, gather around. I want to tell you a story about why you’re not being careful enough with knives.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • dsc_0750.jpg Sgt. Timothy Owens laid to rest Saturday

    From the First Baptist Church in Rolla, Mo., past the high school he once attended, thousands of flags lined the funeral procession for Sgt. Timothy Owens as he was laid to rest Saturday.

    April 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ron W.jpg Opinion: Turn off the TV and enjoy the peace and quiet

    The elevator ride to the observation deck of the Willis Tower (formerly Sears) in Chicago takes less than 90 seconds. When packed like sardines in a car full of strangers, that ride to the top seemed like an etemity. You didn’t dare speak to anyone, or make eye contact with anyone. Better to just stare at your shoes and gut it out.

    April 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • Owens vigil speaker.jpg Family, friends remember Owens at vigil

    Sgt. Timothy W. Owens. Sept. 21, 1976 – April 2, 2014.

         Linda Ellis suggests in her poem, "The Dash," when a life comes to an end, the date of one's birth and passing are less important than the dash between those dates. The dash, she says, has a much more powerful designation — what the person did with their life.

    April 12, 2014 4 Photos

AP Video
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.