EM school board votes to put sales tax on March ballot


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Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2013, 10:04 pm
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By Sarah Hayden, correspondent@qconline.com
EAST MOLINE -- School board members on Monday voted to approve placing the local option sales tax on the March 18, 2014, ballot.

School districts representing 51 percent of Rock Island County students must support a vote on the referendum in order for it to appear on the ballot.

"It makes great sense for our students and for our future," said superintendent Kristin Humphries. "Every county surrounding our district has the local option sales tax."

Moline and United Township school boards have given the green light for the tax to move forward. The tax already is in effect in Henry and Mercer counties.

The 1 percent sales tax will replace the nickel levy, Mr. Humphries said.

"We would realize $1.3 million dollars, which is based on the tax average from the previous three years," he said. "Right now, we get $167,000 per year from the nickel levy. It doesn't even take care of what needs to be done on a maintenance basis.

"It spreads the burden on everyone. Approximately 30 percent spent in Rock Island County comes from outside Rock Island County," he said.

If approved, the tax would take effect July 1, 2014, with schools receiving funds as soon as October 2014. The money only could be used for facilities maintenance and could not be spent on salaries, textbooks or other supplies.

Schools would receive a percentage of the sales tax revenue based on enrollment.

In other news, district business manager Casey Kyser reported positive audit results, saying overall, she was very happy with the report.

"Financially speaking, we're still doing very well," she said.

Mr. Humphries told board members it was an improvement from last year, when the district had $1.1 million in deficit spending.

"Casey should be commended for the work she's done in such a short time," said board president Janet Neff.

The board also approved raising the rate charged to supplemental education service providers who use district buildings to tutor students from $25 per hour to $40.

Mr. Humphries said students who do not meet annual yearly progress standards are allowed under the No Child Left Behind act to receive tutoring.

He said there are 40 SES providers in the district. The tutors are provided by for-profit companies that then charge the school district fees for tutoring.

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