Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

November 14, 2013

Neoga School Board discusses proposed sales tax hike

Jackson Adams
Effingham Daily News

NEOGA — The Neoga School Board discussed the proposed Shelby County facility sales tax and committee formations at its meeting Thursday.

With some of the district's students residing in Shelby County, the board discussed approving the resolution which would allow the district to take some funds from a proposed 1 percent sales tax on luxury items. Neoga Superintendent Chuck Castle said with both Shelby County and Effingham County pushing for a similar tax, it would be advantageous for the board to approve support for a tax which could bring money to Neoga.

"For us, it would come out to $217 per student," he said.

Board Member Chris Strohl said the district is not in the financial position to deny any potential source of income.

"I don't think we can turn any money down," she said. "We need the money."

The board also discussed the creation of a finance committee. The Neoga School Board has no standing committees and the new committee is intended to oversee the district's audits and financial status before presenting information to the board.

"Where we're at in the current state of the finances, I feel like it's another way to double check and see what's going on," she said.

Some board members were skeptical of adding a committee to the board's structure. Board member Bill Steichmann said he had previous experiences working with committees and was apprehensive about the amount of power they can instill in their members.

"I think that committee wanted to take decisions from the actual board," he said.

Others were more supportive of a need for continued oversight over the district's finances.

"The biggest thing in this district this year and the next year and the next year is finance," said board member Tom Schutte. "It's the elephant in the corner of the room. Every decision we make is going to factor in finances."

Board President Tina Moore said she had faith in the members of the board to oversee a finance committee without trying to undermine the authority of the board.

"I feel comfortable with the idea of a committee because of the dynamics of this board," she said.

The board voted unanimously to approve the creation of a finance committee and appointed Schutte and Don Strohl to the committee.

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