Lick Creek School District tax referendum planned
Voters in the Lick Creek School District will be asked to approve a tax referendum in next February's primary election.
The Lick Creek School District 16 Board of Education adopted a resolution in October to place a referendum on the ballot for the Feb. 2, 2010, primary election.
The referendum will ask the voters in the district to approve a $0.65 increase, with the proposed higher levy limited to four years.
"The rationale behind this move is due to several circumstances," Lick Creek School District superintendent Rob Wright explained.
"The district has a history of being financially conservative, yet has continued to lose money for the last several years.
"According to audit reports, expenditures have exceeded revenues by a total of $155,420 over the last four years; a significant amount considering the entire budget is approximately one million dollars.
"The state financial picture has not helped either.
"Several state funded programs have been decreased or cut out altogether.
"Payments from the state for other programs, such as reimbursement for transportation and special education costs, have been several months late in arriving.
"Once stimulus funds provided by the federal government, which are being used by the state to supplant general state aid payments, are no longer available after this year, the situation could grow worse.
"Another factor in the decision regarding the referendum is the fact that Lick Creek 16 has one of the lowest tax rates in the state.
"There are 73 surrounding elementary school districts in Illinois ranging from “Marion County (Centralia) in the north to Madison County (Collinsville) to the west.
"We have the second lowest rate of all 73 districts.
"The average tax rate for all 73 districts as of 2008 is 2.8365; compared to Lick Creek’s rate of 1.80190.
"This rate has decreased almost $0.20 in the past four years and will continue to decrease due to the effects PTELL (Property Tax Extension Limitation Law), which works to slow the growth of total property tax revenues collected by the school district."
Question on ballot
The question that will appear on the primary election ballot for all residents of Lick Creek Community Consolidated School District 16 follows:
“Shall the limiting rate under the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law for Lick Creek Community Consolidated School District #16, Union County, Illinois, be increased by an additional amount equal to .65% above the limiting rate for levy year 2008 and be equal to 2.374240% of the equalized assessed value of the taxable property therein for levy years 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013?”
A yes or no vote will be cast.
Information on ballot
Wright said the actual question on the ballot will be followed by accompanying information designed to inform the voter about what the impact of the referendum would be on taxpayers.
In general, should the measure be approved, a single family residence with a fair market value of $100,000 would see an estimated tax increase of $216.67.
If the referendum passes, Wright said the school district "first and foremostwill be able to continue to maintain its current level of service and programs.
"Expenditures have exceeded revenues for the past four years, despite being financially conservative.
"Elective programs or supplemental services, such as music/band, art, sports or library could all be subject to elimination should the referendum fail.
"The building itself is in need of updating and/or repairs as well.
"In addition, there continues to be a need to improve the technological capabilities of the school in order to provide an education that prepares our students for the 21st century.
"It is the goal of the Board of Education to insure that Lick Creek School will continue to be able to provide a quality education and a well-rounded experience for the children in this district for many years to come.
"The passage of this referendum will provide the financial security to accomplish this goal.
Public meeting planned
"The Board of Education has planned an informational meeting at the school in the gymnasium on January 5, 2010, at 7 p.m.
"The purpose of this meeting is to inform voters in the district about the referendum, their rationale for placing it on the ballot, and explain how the extra funds will be used.
"There will also be the opportunity for residents to ask any questions they may have regarding the referendum.
"In addition, a newsletter is available at the school that outlines the issues regarding the referendum in more detail.
"It is hoped that the voters will become actively involved in educating themselves regarding this matter so that they can make an informed decision regarding the future of Lick Creek School."
Anyone who may have questions about the tax referendum can contact Wright at 833-2545.