August 9, 2022 Local Stories in and Around St. Joseph, Illinois

Voters approve referendum

Superintendent Todd Pence is thankful.

Thankful that a referendum asking voters to approve their tax rate by .22 percent passed.

The referendum passed 664 to 588.

“The passage of the referendum means that the grade school district will be on solid financial ground for years to come,” Pence said. “Being the “money guy” nothing makes me happier than knowing that when I leave the district the next Superintendent will come into a great situation for them to lead.”  

The district asked for the increase now because the bonds taken out to build the middle school will be paid off this year and the tax rate will drop by .31 percent. So even with the proposed increase, the tax rate will go down.
The district was able to pay off the bonds a year and a half early due to the county’s one percent sales tax that goes to schools for building improvements and capital projects. It cannot be used in the education fund. The tax increase will be used in the education fund which can be spent on programs, teachers, keeping class sizes small and more, Pence said.
“I couldn’t be happier especially since our whole focus was on promoting the positive.  Failure would have forced a negative campaign down the road, meaning that we would have had to list possible cuts in staffing and programs,” Pence said.   “By being proactive in this case we were able to get ahead of that type of situation which is a positive for the whole community.”
For a $200,000 home, the current tax rate paid to the district is 2.7325 percent or a total tax of $1,803.45. If the referendum passes the taxes paid will be $1,747l15. If it does not pass the taxes paid will be $1,601.95.
“I do believe our students and their families will see and benefit from the additional revenue that will be generated.  The majority of the money will help us continue to offer a couple of new programs we started last year, added a reading specialist and a social worker, both of whom are desperately needed,” Pence said.  “It will also allow us to continue to offer our employees with competitive wages and benefits which allows us to keep and attract the best of the best.  The other main benefit is that it will allow the district financial freedom to add programs or positions when a needed.”

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