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, Aug. 21, the 233rd day of 2014. There are 132 days left in the year.
1864 -- 150 years ago: Sheriff McLaughlin had the misfortune to dislocate his right shoulder some days ago when his carriage upset. He is now able to walk about but has a very sore shoulder. 1889 -- 125 years ago: A kindergarten was started in the downtown district of Rock Island with the Misses Dodie Hawes and Grace Knowlton as teachers. 1914 -- 100 years ago: Pope Pius X died in Rome. 1939 -- 75 years ago: Rock Island's new theater was named Esquire. 1964 -- 50 years ago: The J.I. Case Co. plant in Bettendorf will add from 150 to 200 employees by Jan. 1 a spokesman for the company said today. The Bettendorf Works today had a payroll of 1,350, but an increased production schedule will require additional people. 1989 -- 25 years ago: The Illowa Council Boy Scouts of America reached and passed its campaign goal in a drive that began 14 months ago by raising more than $2.2 million for the expansion of Loud Thunder Reservation near Andalusia.