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|District 217 Board Talks Countywide Tax
|The Abingdon School Board is looking into a type of sales tax that would bring in additional revenue for District 217.
The school board previously asked Abingdon superintendent Dr. Tami Roskamp to gather information about a countywide sales tax. It's formally known as the County Schools Facility Occupation Tax Law that took effect in October of 2007 and provides school districts an opportunity to generate money through sales taxes rather than property taxes.
Like other districts across the state, District 217 is facing the possibility of a reduction in state education money. Abingdon's hit is projected to be more than $600,000 next fiscal year if the governor's proposal to cut education spending by $1.3 billion. The school board has approved over $570,000 in cost reductions, and more cuts are likely.
The money generated through the sales tax is available to all school districts within the county where the tax is implemented and is dispersed in amounts based on school enrollment. The sales tax is limited to a maximum of 1 percent and it applies to general merchandise. Automobiles, mobile homes, food and drugs are among the items exempt from the tax.
Roskamp says school districts face restrictions on how the tax revenue can be spent.
"You can't use it for computers, you can't use it for buses, you can't use it for furniture, you can't use it for salaries or operating expenses," Roskamp said. "You can use it for new facilities, renovation of facilities, abatement of bonds for capital projects, purchase of land, non-movable durable equipment such as wind turbines, health-life safety needs, parking lots, or potential planning and system upgrades."
Roskamp says a "ballpark figure" of the amount of money the tax could generate for Abingdon is around $350,000. She says District 217's interest in the tax is primarily bond abatement.
Roskamp says the other school districts in Knox County and the county board would have to be notified if the school board wants to pursue the tax. The board will likely take the matter up again next month.
|04 15 10 by Newsroom
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