Monday, May 4, 2015

Voters pass six tax hikes, seven bond issues, three sales tax plans

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Unofficial school referendum results from the April 7 Consolidated Election indicate voters approved six of 16 tax increase questions, seven of 14 bond propositions, and three of six county sales tax plans on the April 7 ballot.

Local school districts were successful with tax referenda for educational purposes in Colona School District 190 (a $1.09 increase per $100 of assessed valuation); Crescent-Iroquois CUSD 249, Crescent City (an 80-cent increase per $100 of assessed valuation); Hamilton CUSD 328 (a 60-cent increase per $100 of assessed valuation); Scott-Morgan CUSD 2, Bluffs (a 60-cent increase per $100 of assessed valuation); Triad CUSD 2, Troy (a 50-cent increase per $100 of assessed valuation) and Community Unit School District 316, Warsaw (a $1 increase per $100 of assessed valuation). Three of these propositions, however, were approved by fewer than 100 votes.

Voters rejected tax referenda in Breese Elementary SD 12; Granite City CUSD 9; Greenview CUSD 200; Maroa-Forsyth CUSD 2; McClellan CCSD 12, Mt. Vernon; Neoga CUSD 3; Pennoyer SD 79, Norridge; Streator Elementary SD 44; Thomasboro CCSD 130; and Woodland CCSD 50, Gurnee.

Building bond issues were approved in Delavan CUSD 703 in Tazewell County ($7.1 million for construction and repairs); Geneseo CUSD 228, in Henry County ($16.5 million to build additions to two elementary schools and improve a high school auditorium and stadium); Harrisburg CUSD 3, in Saline County (a $15 million bond issue paid from dedicated County Sales Tax receipts to reconstruct and renovate a high school); Milford Area SD 124, in Iroquois County ($17.4 million to demolish a high school and build additions for grade school and high school purposes); and West Aurora SD 129, in Kane County ($84.2 million—the largest bond issue approved—which will be used to replace an elementary school).

Two working cash bond issues won approval, as well, including a proposal in Farrington CCSD 99 in Jefferson County ($150,000); and in Paris-Crestwood CUSD 4 in Edgar County ($1.6 million). The Paris bond issue passed by only 15 votes.

Bond proposals were rejected this April in Champaign CUSD 4; Granite City CUSD 9; Jasper County CUSD 1, Newton; Midland CUSD 7, Sparland; Waltham CCSD 185, Utica; and Winthrop Harbor CCSD 1. Voters also defeated a bond referendum to pay claims against the district in Jasper County CUSD 1, Newton ($2.2 million).

The 38 percent passage rate on tax proposals this time was just above the average approval rate seen for tax issues in primary elections in even-numbered years since November 1989, which stood at 36 percent. In contrast, the 50 percent passage rate on bond issues fell below the average for elections since 1989, which stood at 58 percent for all bond issues.

Of six countywide sales tax increase proposals earmarked for school facility purposes, voters approved three: Jersey, Perry, and Scott Counties. Two of those three winning proposals passed by narrow margins, with a 100-vote margin (428-328) in Scott County and a 120-vote margin (1,924-1,804) in Perry County.

The vote in two counties where the 1 percent sales tax was defeated was close: Carroll County lost 1,427 to 1,134 and Rock Island lost, 8,531 to 8,413. The referenda was soundly defeated, 4,736 to 1,828, in Stephenson County.

To date 33 counties have adopted a sales tax to benefit school facilities, or nearly one-third of the state’s 102 counties. 

In other voting, a proposed school consolidation failed by just seven votes (938-931) in East Alton-Wood River CHSD 14, Wood River; East Alton SD 13, East Alton; and Wood River-Hartford ESD 15, Wood River, all located in Madison County.

For a closer look at school finance election outcomes since 1989, visit online at: