A proposed one-percent sales tax increase was overwhelmingly defeated by Peoria County voters in last night’s election. School officials were hoping to use revenue from the tax hike towards building improvements. The tax hike was defeated by 66-percent of voters. It would have generated $18 million for Peoria county schools to use for state mandated health and safety building projects. Chad Wagner is Superintendent of Oak Grove School District in Bartonville. He says districts must now find other ways to fund the required projects at the same time state funding continues to shrink:
“The state is expected to fund our schools at a historically low rate. The reduction in spending could lead downwards of a 65-percent proration of our funding. That’s down from 95-percent in fiscal year 2012, 89-percent in fiscal years 2013 and 2014. So needless to say this is going to be a devastating cut to our county schools,” Wagner says.
Officials say districts might have to raise property taxes if they need to issue bonds to pay for future facility projects. District 150 says it also needs more revenue to pay for about $40 million in H-VAC improvements.