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 Saturday, April 19, the 109th day of 2014. There are 256 days left in the year.
1864 -- 150 years ago: Miss McCorkindale has opened millinery rooms over Gimbel's dry goods store, where she offers a choice lot of millinery goods, which she will manufacture to order. 1889 -- 125 years ago: The little South Park Presbyterian chapel celebrated it first Easter decorated with flowers for an afternoon worship service attended by a large congregation. 1914 -- 100 years ago: The Wennerberg Chorus of Augustana College has returned from a 2,000-mile tour in the Eastern states and Illinois. 1939 -- 75 years ago: Col. Charles Lindbergh has stated that he is convinced that Germany's air force is equal to the combined sky fleets of her potential European foes. 1964 -- 50 years ago: Small gas motors may be permitted on boats in the lake to be built in Loud Thunder Forest Preserve. The prospect was discussed yesterday at a meeting of the Rock Island County Forest Preserve Commission. 1989 -- 25 years ago: The annual Dispatch/Rock Island Argus Spelling Bee continues to be a family tradition. Ed Lee, an eighth-grader at John Deere Junior High School, Moline, is the 1989 spelling bee champion from among 49 top spellers in Rock Island, Henry and Mercer counties. He advances to the competition in Washington, D.C. Runnerup was Ed's sister, Susan.