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Local

One school to seek sales tax hike

Regional superintendent says more districts are likely to do the same

DIXON – Nelson Elementary is the lone school district to file a resolution with the Lee/Ogle Regional Office of Education to put the 1 percent sales tax increase back on the ballot in Lee County, Superintendent Amy Jo Clemens said Thursday.

That doesn’t mean there won’t be more to come.

Districts have until Jan. 22 to pass a resolution for the referendum to be on the April ballot. Most districts told her their vote will come in January, Clemens said.

For the referendum to make the ballot, districts passing a resolution must amount to 50 percent of students residing in the county, plus one. Nelson has about 35 students, Dixon has 2,906.

Nelson, in Lee County, also has agreed to merge with East Coloma Elementary School District, which is in Whiteside County.

The state superintendent, Christopher Koch, is considering the merger; if he approves the petition, residents of both school districts will vote on the matter in April.

If it passes, consolidation will take effect next school year.

The East Coloma school board passed a resolution last week in support of a sales tax increase in Whiteside County.

In November, 58.9 percent of Lee County voters rejected the tax, which would have brought about the construction of a sports and activities complex in Dixon and maintenance upgrades in other county schools. These funds are earmarked for infrastructure, maintenance and building upgrades only.

The sales tax request also has failed twice before in Whiteside County.

The Dixon School Board has said it will vote on the resolution at its Jan. 16 meeting. Five of seven board members spoke favorably of the resolution and Dixon Superintendent Michael Juenger said other Lee County school districts told him they would pass a resolution.

Clemens said a resolution from Dixon and either Amboy, with about 760 students, or Ashton-Franklin Center, with about 595, would be enough to put the sales tax proposal back on the ballot.

Dixon also will vote on a resolution for the sales tax referendum in Ogle County, since it has a handful of students that live there, Juenger said.

In Ogle County, four districts have filed resolutions, including Creston with 110 students, Eswood with 87, Kings with 100 and Meridian with more than 1,000. Rochelle, Oregon and Byron, each with more than 1,000 students, are the largest districts and have yet to file their resolutions with the Regional Office of Education.

To attend

The Dixon School Board meets at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 16 at Reagan Middle School, 620 Division St.

Go to www.dixonschools.org and click on the district tab, then "board of education," or call the administrative office, 815-284-7722, for an agenda.

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