There may be a case that some St. Clair County school districts need the funds a 1 percent sales tax would generate. But morally I can’t vote yes and be fair to other districts’ residents. My yes vote would take away their power to hold local school boards accountable as I would be setting their budget and tax rates not their own residents.
The fundamental reason we keep 28 districts is a desire for hyper local control and accountability. Each district in the county already can raise a property tax to fund itself. I don’t know the reasons why another school district’s residents may have denied tax increases, but it was their choice and a yes vote for a county tax could negate that act of local control.
A vote yes is also a move toward a county funding system and begins to ask, should we consolidate these districts in to one county district? There may be cases for or against that but this tax is not the best forum for starting down that path.
Don’t vote no on this tax to withhold money from schools; vote no because it takes away the powers of the purse strings. A no vote keeps school funding discussions between school boards and residents where it belongs. Each district still has the power to raise money through property taxes and they don’t need a sales tax as well. Funds shortages are an issue between school boards and residents, so let’s butt out and vote no.
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Phil Rozenski, Shiloh