Hancock County schools to vote over next two weeks on 1% sales tax

Published: Oct. 17, 2022 at 6:16 PM CDT
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CARTHAGE, Ill. (WGEM) - Over the next two weeks, school districts in Hancock County will vote on whether or not they want to see a 1% sales tax increase on the general consolidated election ballot on April 4.

The money generated from the tax would be used solely for the purpose of improvements to school buildings, school resource officers and mental health professionals.

This means salaries, benefits, supplies and other operational costs are omitted.

Dallas City Elementary Superintendent Alissa Tucker said she’s considering a majority of what the tax would make possible.

“It would give us some income that we would be able to rely on and be able to plan for so that we could do some long range planning and keep our building more up-to-date,” Tucker said.

Tucker added that it’s not often that the district gets to complete major projects due to the lack of funding.

Right now, Tucker said the district has over $200,000 in improvements that need to be made. That includes corroded pipes, an exhaust fan for the school kitchen and a new HVAC system.

“For us, being able to do a big project is just not feasible,” Tucker said.

Tucker also noted that the district would likely seek a school resource officer in the event that the 1% sales tax does pass.

At Carthage Elementary School District, personnel is the primary concern. While the funding does not compensate teachers, Superintendent Dustin Day said the district would use the money to pay for the school’s social worker.

In return, opening up the possibility to employ math and reading specialists.

“We could add and utilize potentially a reading specialist and somebody in additional personnel to assist with our COVID issues that all schools are facing with [educational] gaps widening,” Day said.

Mikea Toubekis is one teacher who said she has seen the gap grow first-hand. Toubekis said this has also changed the way teachers educate their students.

“Instead of doing something as more of an intervention where I would be working with two or three kids, I’ve started doing whole group instruction going back to those basic foundations,” Toubekis said.

Toubekis said that a specialist could take kids aside for one-on-one learning.

“Everybody accesses their ability to read at some point,” Toubekis said. “Some kids open it early and some kids open it late, but it just seems like since COVID we’ve seen a huge shift.”

If a majority of school districts vote yes, that would then direct the regional superintendent to put the proposal on the ballot. It would then be up to Hancock County voters to put the tax increase into effect.

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Hancock County schools looking at potential for 1% sales tax

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