First and foremost, we all agree that we want the best education for our kids. We live in a global economy, and in order for our kids to be successful, they must be able to compete with the best of the best.
Second, the state of Illinois recently adopted legislation that allows local school districts to propose a sales tax referendum to help fund specific educational projects. However, the law strictly limits how the proceeds can be used. Specifically, funds cannot be used to hire additional teachers or staff, purchase teaching supplies, or replace positions that have been cut within the district, which is what the guest columnist had suggested.
Third, what the money CAN be used for is facility projects. Each school district has the flexibility to choose to build or improve facilities that will meet the specific needs of students in their respective districts.
The Dixon Public School Board has determined that if the 1 percent referendum should pass on Nov. 6, the best use of those funds would be to build a Sports and Activities Center, so that our children have the same opportunities as the children in Sterling, Oregon, Byron and DeKalb.
These are communities that, for years, have had large sports and activity centers for children of all ages. Studies show that when kids are presented with the opportunity to participate in activities such as sports, music or the arts, they achieve higher grades.
In fact, it has been proved that the more opportunities kids have to exercise their bodies and minds outside of the classroom, the better they are at learning life skills such as how to overcome adversity and how to resolve conflicts.
Most important, it gives them confidence to be successful in all areas of life. The programs at the new Sports and Activities Center will instill a strong work ethic and teach discipline, which is necessary in providing our children with a well-rounded education.
Last, the 1 percent referendum is a low-impact way to bring this project to life. It is a 1-cent-on-the-dollar increase. One of the advantages of utilizing sales taxes to fund projects is that approximately 30 percent of the revenues generated will come from people who live outside of Lee County. Another advantage is that the use of sales tax, as a funding source, reduces the reliance on property taxes to support educational needs in each school district.
It is time for Dixon to move forward and provide our children with the same opportunities as children in neighboring communities.
“We Are Dixon” is a group of more than 160 committed citizens who have volunteered their time and talents to promote this cause. If you need more information or would like to join us, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or “like” us on Facebook @ “We Are Dixon.”
Please vote YES on Nov. 6 for the 1 percent referendum.
Note to readers – Danny Langloss is a spokesman for the “We Are Dixon” group.