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Failed Tax Referendums and State Funding Creates Burden for Schools

<font size="3" face="Times New Roman"> </font><p style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt; text-autospace: ; mso-layout-grid-align: none;" class="MsoNormal"><font size="3"><font face="Times New Roman">The passing of tax referendums is good news for school districts in the Stateline, but not all of them are celebrating today. <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /><o:p></o:p></font></font></p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"> </font>

 

Stillman Valley- Empty halls will soon give way to more crowded classrooms and fewer teachers in Ogle County. Voters in the Meridian School District rejected a property tax increase by a two-to-one margin.

 

A county-wide sales tax increase to help schools make up for lost and delayed state funding fared even worse.

   

"The state unfortunately can say they're going to pay you money and they can wait three months to pay you that money, or four months, or five months, so they're late on things but we can't be," said Meridian School District Interim Superintendent Jim Brown.

 

He says parents can expect larger class sizes, less electives and foreign language options. The school board will cut 20 jobs. They've already cut $1 million dollars from education programs for next year. 

 

"For a district of Rockford's size it doesn't mean much, in a district like Meridian 20 positions is a large number," said Brown.

     

Had the county-wide sales tax passed the Meridian School District would have had more revenue for building needs. Something schools in Boone County now do have.

 

Voters said yes to the county-wide sales tax stopping property taxes from sky-rocketing.

 

Belvidere

"What it does is it helps reduce the tax increases that would have otherwise occurred from the escalating bond payments," said Belvidere School District CFO and Asst. Superintendent Greg Brown. He credits the Citizens for School Bond Relief campaign for informing voters.

 

"We're excited no question about it and it's nice because it will provide property tax relief," said Brown.

 

The Meridian School District Board hopes to try to pass a referendum again next spring. 

 

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