Schools seeking sales tax increase - Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Schools seeking sales tax increase

PITTSFIELD, Ill. (WGEM) - Schools across Illinois are struggling after continued funding cuts but one Tri-State county hopes that changes next Tuesday. There's a one-cent sales tax referendum on the ballot in Pike County, Illinois and administrators hope the third time is the charm.

Pipes held together with duct tape, aging furnaces and broken lockers are just some of the things affecting the overall look of Pittsfield High School.

"Two of my three buildings were built in the 1950's and are constantly needing updates and repairs," Pikeland Superintendent Paula Hawley said.

A one-cent sales tax per every dollar is slated for a vote in the March 18th election. That money would provide funding for capital projects.

"This will allow us a different funding stream for those repairs other than the property tax levy," Hawley said.

The sales tax proceeds would go to four county school districts and allotted on a per-student basis. At Pikeland School District, Hawley says they're set to collect about $450,000 per year.

"We want to air condition two of our buildings that are not air conditioned," Hawley said. "When the students aren't comfortable in the buildings they do not learn well."

With a little more than a week until the polls open, residents seem to be split on the proposal.

"Everything around me is going up; the price of gas, the price of food," Pittsfield Resident Gerald Dickey said. "I can't afford another price increase."

"Right now we were maybe a little bit behind the times with our schools," Pittsfield Resident Bob Brewer said. "We have to be looking out for the future of our children or we're not going to have anything. One penny for every dollar, we got to do it."

Hawley says the sales tax would be collected from stores but does not apply to big-ticket items such as farm equipment and titled items.
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