Mercer County voters will be asked to approve a 1 percent sales tax increase for the school district next spring.
On Wednesday, the school board agreed to put the referendum question on the April ballot, and said that, if approved, it could generate about $300,000 a year for the district.
Although voters rejected the increase in the past, board member Marta Tucker said "the board has a responsibility to put it out there and let the voters decide."
She said the tax was brought up during recent public forums.
"I believe the sales tax is a much fairer form of tax than property taxes," board president Doug Ball said. "I saw overwhelming support at the public meetings. Let's see how it goes."
Officials said the additional money is needed to avoid deep cuts to maintain a balanced budget.
"There is no wiggle room," superintendent Alan Boucher said. "The levy is maxed out and even keeping the rates maxed we are set to lose $43,000 in taxes."
That's because the district's equalized assessed valuation is dropping. Last year, the estimated EAV was $156 million, but the actual EAV came in at $132 million, or $24 million less. This year's estimate is about $125 million.
The board is expected to approve the tax levy at December's meeting.
In other business, the board:
- Agreed to hire a firm to analyze the district's transportation department before deciding whether to outsource transportation or maintain the district's bus fleet.
- Hired paraprofessionals Nicole Lenz, New Boston Elementary, and Amanda Gray, high school; assistant softball coach Monica Dennison; assistant high school basketball coach Derek Hermanson; and 7th grade basketball coach Scott Jenkins.
Today is Thursday, July 24, the 205th day of 2014. There are 160 days left in the year.
1864 -- 150 years ago: The Rev. R.J. Humphrey, once a clergyman in this city, was reported killed in a quarrel in New Orleans. 1889 -- 125 years ago: The Rock Island Citizens Improvement Association held a special meeting to consider the proposition of consolidating Rock Island and Moline. 1914 -- 100 years ago: The home of A. Freeman, 806 3rd Ave., was entered by a burglar while a circus parade was in progress and about $100 worth of jewelry and $5 in cash were taken. 1939 -- 75 years ago: The million dollar dredge, Rock Island, of the Rock Island district of United States engineers will be in this area this week to deepen the channel at the site of the new Rock Island-Davenport bridge. 1964 -- 50 years ago: The Argus "walked" to a 13-0 victory over American Container Corporation last night to clinch the championship of Rock Island's A Softball League at Northwest Douglas Park. 1989 -- 25 years ago: The Immediate Care Center emergency medical office at South Park Mall is moving back to United Medical Center on Sept. 1. After nearly six years in operation at the mall, Care Center employees are upset by UMC's decision. The center is used by 700 to 800 people each month.