WASHINGTON — Property owners in the Washington Community High School District would get a break on their property taxes if voters approve a 1 percent Tazewell County school facilities tax Nov. 6.
School Board members Tuesday approved a new district policy that requires the board to use no less than 50 percent of the revenue the district would receive from the school facilities sales tax to pay off construction bonds, saving taxpayers money.
That's a change from the 40 percent threshold that was originally proposed. Board members increased the amount during a lengthy discussion of the policy at their meeting last month.
A new aspect of the policy added last month and approved Tuesday mandates that the board review the threshold amount every two years during the district's annual budget process. The review would begin during the 2019-2020 fiscal year.
Board members did not comment on the policy Tuesday but voted unanimously to approve it.
At last month's board meeting, board member Brian Fischer said, "It's important that we're up front and transparent with voters on how the school facilities sales tax revenue would be used."
It's estimated that Washington Community High School would receive about $936,000 annually in school facilities sales tax revenue, which can be used only for facilities work or to pay off construction bonds.
If the school facilities sales tax question passes in November, the sales tax would go into effect July 1, 2019, and Tazewell County public school districts would begin receiving revenue in October 2019 on a student per capita basis.
Tazewell County voters rejected the school facilities sales tax in 2009 and 2013, each time by a decisive margin. Peoria, Woodford, Fulton, Mason and Logan counties, which share a border with Tazewell County, all have a school facilities sales tax.
Also at Tuesday's meeting, board members learned enrollment at the high school has crept up slightly from the sixth-day attendance figure that's used to determine a school's official enrollment.
There were 1,390 students at the high school Oct. 5, three more than the 1,387 counted in August. The 1,387 enrollment is 13.8 percent more than the 2014 enrollment of 1,219.
Representatives from construction manager P.J. Hoerr told board members Tuesday they're confident a project to build an addition for the high school's music department, renovate the current music space into classrooms and replace bleachers and install a new press box at Babcook Field will be completed by the start of the 2019-2020 school year.
Steve Stein can be reached at (248) 224-2616 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @SpartanSteve.