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County school facility tax would help schools with aging buildings, relieving property owners now and in the future -- Mount Pulaski Community Unit District

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Dear voters, property owners and residents of Mount Pulaski Community Unit District 23:

The school and children are the heart and soul of every community that feeds into Mount Pulaski Community Unit District 23 school system. Not only are the schools the foundation for the future of our children, but they are also a stitch in the cloth that holds communities, businesses, organizations and its people together.

As many of us know all too well, the dependence on general state funding and reimbursement for mandated programs received from the state of Illinois is both unreliable and uncertain. It appears that this pattern will not change in the foreseeable future.

On April 5, 2011, the voters of Logan County will have a chance to help their own school districts and themselves by voting for a county school facility tax. The voters will be asked the question: "Shall the county of Logan, Illinois, be authorized to impose a 1% retailers' occupation tax and a service occupation tax to be used exclusively for school facility purposes?"

If this question is approved, the sales tax WILL NOT apply to food for home consumption, prescription medicine, cars, trucks, boats, RVs, mobile homes, farm equipment, seed, fertilizer, chemicals and other farm usage inputs.

How will this help MPCUD 23? If voters approve the question, proceeds CAN be used for fire prevention and life safety, new facilities, additions, renovations, maintenance, energy efficiency, demolition, roof repairs, disabled accessibility, parking lot improvements, and/or property tax abatement. It CANNOT be used for salaries, school supplies and daily usage items.

The MPCUD 23 school board and administration have compiled a list of improvements to district property that would be targeted. These improvements include boiler replacement at both buildings, high school gym bleacher replacement, roof repair, improvements to all parking areas, sidewalk improvements and possible replacement of the 1912 and 1927 portions of Mount Pulaski High School. These are in addition to the continual updates mandated for life safety compliance.

If the question passes in the April 5 election, a significant portion of the revenue to be used for these projects WILL BE paid for by people residing OUTSIDE of our school district that travel through and shop in Logan County and also by county residents that currently are not subject to property taxes.

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Logan County sales statistics show that MPCUD 23 could receive approximately $245,000 in annual revenue. The revenue received will then be appropriated to each school district based on the number of students residing in Logan County for each district. Currently 13.5 percent of the students in Logan County attend MPCUD 23.

How will this help local property owners?

As district facilities continue to age, building repairs and updates are a constant necessity to give the students of MPCUD 23 the best educational opportunities possible.

However, all of this comes at a significant cost to local property owners. A "yes" vote to the county school facility tax will enable each district to reduce levying property taxes by using the funds from the sales tax to pay for facility projects that would have been paid for with property taxes. If the proceeds are used for property tax abatement, the savings would be approximately $54.83 on a $100,000 home.

While structurally sound, the ages of some of MPCUD 23 buildings are worthy to note: MPGS: 1959 and 1972; MPHS: 1912, 1927, 1963 and 2006. The condition of our schools plays an important role in the success and performance of our students and our communities.

Everyone who shops in Logan County will help support the local economy, local school facilities and reduce reliance on property taxes.

For more information, questions or comments, please feel free to contact Phil Shelton, superintendent of MPCUD 23, at 792-7222.

Mount Pulaski Community Unit District 23 School Board
David Meister, president; Mike Toohey, vice president; Doug Martin, secretary; Diane Deppe; Kathy Boward; Joe Olson; Jeff Haley

[Posted March 28, 2011]

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