Highland News Leader

School board, school sales tax lead Tuesday’s ballot questions

While every local township, school board and municipal government will have races on Tuesday’s ballot, few are contested.

There will not be a competitive race in the Triad School District where there are only three candidates and three open seats on the board.

However, there is a contested race for the board of education in the Highland School District.

Only four names will appear on the ballot this spring for the four open seats on the board. But there will be contests for two of the seats, as write-in candidates have filed their intentions to run for office.

Aaron Schuster of Highland and John Hipskind, who withdrew their regular nominating papers following objections to their petitions, will not have their names appear on the April 4 ballot. But voters can write them in.

Because membership on the Board of Education is restricted to a maximum of three members from any congressional township, the election will set up as Schuster, Hipskind and sitting board members Duane Clarke, who has been on the board four years and is its vice president, and Renè Friedel, a 14-year member who also serves as board president, all be running for two seats available for residents of Saline Township. Sitting board member Joe Mott also lives in Saline Township, hence only the two open seats.

There are two more board positions up for election in the spring general consolidated election.

Incumbent board member Steven Price of Highland opted not to seek re-election.

Jim Gallatin of Highland, also an incumbent, and Zachary Lewis of Alhambra filed petitions to seek the other two open spots on the board. Gallatin lives in Helvetia Township and Lewis in Alhambra Township. They face no opposition.

Sales tax referendum

On April 4, Madison County voters will decide on the implementation of a new 1 percent county facilities sales tax for schools.

By law, the money can only be used to build new facilities, buy land, repair existing facilities, technology infrastructure, or purchase durable equipment (non-movable items).

The money can also be used to retire existing debt incurred for such purposes. For instance, the Highland School Board recently passed several million in bonding to do life/health/safety work across the districts. Currently, those bonds are backed by property taxes. However, if the sales tax passed, those property taxes could be abated, and the sales tax money used to pay the debt.

The money cannot be used for salaries, operating costs, textbooks, buses, furniture, etc.

The tax is only applied to products currently subject to other taxation, namely smaller consumer goods. Products not subject to the tax include automobiles, boats, ATVs, RVs, mobile homes, agriculture machinery and inputs, groceries and medicine.

The money is collected on all sales within the county, then disbursed back to individual school districts based on their student population. It is estimated the tax would mean about $1.6 million per year in new money to the Highland School District.

The Highland School Board has said it would use half the money generated by a new sales tax, should the initiative pass, to abate existing debt that is backed by property taxes.

Township Races

The only local contested township races are for trustee in Saline and Jarvis townships.

In Saline, nine people are running for four trustee spots. The candidates are Keith Haberer, Gervase V. Ottensmeier, Donald J. Frank, Dawn L. Mayberry, Daniel F. Kapp, Van A. Powell, Gene A. Weis, Mark Gelly and Gerald A. Rottmann.

There are five people running for four seat in Jarvis Township. Robert Stonecipher, Elizabeth Hellrung, Mary Andrea May and Scott Wiesehan and running as a slate with the Township Improvement party. Jason G. Helldoerfer is running as an independent.

Municipal elections

All races in the city of Highland are uncontested.

However, there are several races in Troy. Incumbent Mayor Allen Adomite is facing a challenge from two opponents, Ralph Clemings and John “Jack” Haggard. There is also a two-way race for Troy city clerk. The candidates are Jamie Myers and Kristine Scovill. There are also two-way contests for alderman in Ward 3 and Ward 4. In Ward 3, the candidates are James Daniel and James DeCarli. In Ward 4, the election is between Nathan Henderson and Timothy Greenfield.

There is also a race for village president (mayor) in New Douglas. Current Mayor June Ridens is being challenged George Grindstaff, a former mayor.

Voting Times & Places

Election Day: Polling places will open at 6 a.m. and close at 7 p.m. on election day, Tuesday, April 4. Your polling place can be found on your voter registration card, or you can look up your polling place on the Madison County Clerk’s website, madisonvotes.com.

Early Voting: Locally, early voting can be done at the Louis Latzer Memorial Library, 1001 9th St. in Highland, from noon to 6 p.m. March 29-31 and from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, April 1. Early voting is also taking place at Troy City Hall, 116 E. Market St., from noon to 4:30 p.m. March 29-31. The last day for early voting will be on Monday, April 3 at the Madison County Clerk’s Office, 157 N. Main St. in Edwardsville, Room 109, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.