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Local

Five boards now support sales tax

All eyes on Sterling tonight

MORRISON – Whiteside County voters very likely will see a request for a 1 percent sales tax increase to support school facilities on the ballot in April.

The Morrison School Board on Tuesday unanimously passed a resolution in support of the sales tax hike and became the fifth school board to back the measure.

The Rock Falls Elementary School Board passed its resolution last week. The River Bend, Prophetstown-Lyndon-Tampico and East Coloma boards passed their resolutions this week.

Those boards, along with Morrison, represent more than 50.8 percent of students in Whiteside County, based on enrollment data from last year.

All eyes now are on the Sterling School Board, which is set to vote on its resolution tonight. Sterling, with its 36 percent of the enrollment in the county, certainly would tip the scales in favor of placing the request on the ballot.

The Morrison School Board plans to use at least half its sales tax revenue – estimated at more than $560,000 a year – to lower property taxes and the rest to improve school facilities, including impending roof, heating and cooling and plumbing repairs.

The board will discuss its plans further at its meeting next month.

If a sales tax increase appears on the ballot in April, and if voters approve it, each school district would get a proportion of the annual county sales tax revenue based on its share of enrollment, regardless of whether the district supported the measure.

Whiteside County school officials have tried twice in the past 4 years to pass a tax increase. The last time, in April 2010, voters denied the referendum, 56 percent to 44 percent.

To attend

The Sterling School Board meets at 7 p.m. today in the high school library, 1608 Fourth Ave., Sterling.

Go to www.sterlingpublicschools.org/board/agenmin.htm or call 815-626-5050 for an agenda or more information.

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