Sales Tax to Save Schools

Voters at the polls on Nov. 8 have one more decision to make

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Bailey Rueff, Business Manager

Third time’s the charm, right? The Charleston school board recently approved a referendum that would mandate a one percent sales tax increase in Coles County, but would send all funds straight to Coles Country public schools. Mattoon and Oakland schools have also approved this referendum. The election on Nov. 8 will truly tell what Coles County voters are thinking.
Opposers say their main concern is the lack of guarantee on how the money will be spent. This reason is one of the few that has stopped the referendum from passing in the past. This referendum has been voted on in both 2010 and 2014. If passed, the money gained would be sent to schools based on enrollment and would help with a slew of different problems public schools are facing. Renovations such as heating and air, security, roofing, flooring, plumbing, parking and more would be competed using the sales tax money.
“School districts need to find ways to be less reliant on the state,” said District Superintendent Jim Littleford, speaking on the budget crisis in Illinois. The lack of funding from the state has affected public schools in disastrous ways, forcing them to forgo renovations, suspend raises and cut faculty members. Money raised from the sales tax increase will not be used for salaries or classroom supplies.
If approved, the sales tax would only be implemented on products that currently have an existing sales tax. The 1% increase would be implemented county-wide and would affect not only Coles Country residents, but Coles County shoppers as well.
As voters go to the polls in just a month, they will have many decisions on their hands. Not only will they choose the next President of the United States, they will also decide the prosperity of Coles County schools.

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