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 Sunday, March 9, the 68th day of 2014. There are 297 days left in the year. 1864 -- 150 years ago: Much damage is being done to sidewalks, shade trees, fences and gardens by hogs that are running at large about town. 1889 -- 125 years ago: H.C. Cleveland was elected air knight captain of Rock Island Division Uniform Rank Knights of Pythias. 1914 -- 100 years ago: B.W. Wilson, authority on birds and their habits, spoke at the weekly luncheon at the Rock Island Club. 1939 -- 75 years ago: The famous Dionne quintuplets have been invited to visit King George and Queen Elizabeth in Toronto on May 22, but Papa Dionne thinks their majesties should include the Callander nursery in their tour. 1964 -- 50 years ago: Ever been smothered by funny stuff? Well more than 2,600 people were last night when two boys named Tom and Dick Smothers took a "rocky, twisting road to folk music" in Davenport Masonic Temple. 1989 -- 25 years ago: Moline residents soon may be asked to recycle part of their garbage and might even get paid for it.