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|Knoxville School Board Approves Countywide Sales Tax; Criticizes County Board Member's Comments
|A second Knox County school board is formally behind a sales tax increase that would generate additional revenue for schools in the county.
The Knoxville School Board Wednesday night unanimously approved adding to the November election ballot a one-percent countywide sales tax question, officially known as the County Schools Facility Occupation Tax. The law went into effect in Illinois in October of 2007, giving school districts the opportunity to generate money through sales taxes instead of higher property taxes.
Support by the District 202 school board won't be enough to get the question on the ballot. It requires approval by school districts representing at least 51 percent of the county's student enrollment. The Galesburg School Board has to sign off on the tax for it to go to the county board, which places the question on the ballot. District 205 board members tabled a vote on the tax earlier this week. Two other local school boards have voted on it - Williamsfield board members declined to support the tax and the Abingdon School Board approved it June 9.
Knoxville Superintendent Dr. Larry Carlton told the board the extra money that could be generated by the tax could go toward costs associated with the expansion at Mabel Woolsey Elementary School.
"You can use it to pay off some of your present debt," Carlton said. "You have about 32 cents in Life-Safety. Projections are District 202 would generate about $559,000 (a year). You can use part of that for your track, pay down your debt, pay some of the principle on the building (expansion). We're paying $225,000 a year for the next five years."
Board President Bob Bogard and board member John Putnam were critical of recently published comments by Knox County Board member Allen Pickrel. Pickrel reportedly said during a county building committee meeting that the board should block the sales tax question so three questions regarding what to do with the Knox County Courthouse can be on the ballot. The maximum is three.
Bogard, angry with Pickrel's comments, said the election is coming up and it's time for some county board members to move on. Putnam called it interesting that it's apparently okay to rehabilitate the courthouse but it's not okay to rehabilitate the schools where the kids go.
The meeting marked the last for Carlton, who's been with District 202 for eight years. The school board did not renew his contract, which expires at the end of this month. Carlton has been hired as superintendent of the Henry-Senachwine School District.
|06 17 10 by Newsroom
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