Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Seven countywide sales tax proposals
face voters

At least 11 local school finance referendum questions in 10 school districts are set to appear on the March 15 primary election ballot. Dozens more school districts would also benefit from seven countywide referenda on sales tax propositions earmarked for school facility purposes.

Seven counties (marked by an X) will vote on school sales tax referendums in March.

The largest of these finance propositions is at North Shore SD 112, Highland Park, where $198 million in bond revenue could be obtained if voters approve the proposal. The measure asks voters to endorse borrowing to fund a school consolidation plan to reconfigure and reduce the district’s number of school buildings.

Districts known to be placing local school finance issues before voters in March include:

  • Galena USD 120, a $15.7 million bond issue, to renovate an existing facility and construct a new combined middle and high school building
  • Hillsboro CUSD 3, a $34.5 million bond issue, for facility upgrades, including construction of a new high school
  • Hinsdale CCSD 181, a $65 million bond issue, to fund a new middle school
  • Homewood SD 153, a $9 million working cash bond issue over a seven-year period, to cover fiscal shortfalls as property values have dropped and state aid cuts have cost the district million of dollars in lost revenue
  • Monticello CUSD 25, a $40.9 million bond issue, for construction of a new high school building
  • Morton CUSD 709, a property tax hike of 29 cents per $100 market value for building repairs, meanwhile using $1.5 million in working cash bond reserves
  • North Shore SD 112, Highland Park, a $198 million bond issue, to improve facilities for the purpose of consolidating schools in the district
  • Peotone CUSD 207-U, a limiting rate increase to boost property taxes by 90 cents per $100 of home value, generating about $3 million, for district operations
  • Taft School District 90, Lockport, a limiting rate hike to increase property taxes by $333 for a home valued at $100,000 per year in order to fund district operations and help offset a 30 to 35 percent decline in equalized assessed value in the past couple of years
  • Valmeyer CUSD 3, a $1.5 million bond issue, for school funding purposes

In addition to school district propositions, countywide sales tax proposals to benefit schools are scheduled in the following seven counties: Bond, Carroll, DeWitt, Edwards, Jefferson, Macoupin, and Monroe. Since the state law took effect in January 2008, 33 counties have adopted the retailers occupation and service occupation tax for school facilities.

IASB will report on results of all the March 15 school referenda. The passing rates of school finance referenda since 1989 are available online.