Mt. Vernon Register-News

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March 11, 2014

McClellan asks for tax increase

Editor’s Note:

This is the sixth story featuring candidates and referendum in Jefferson County for the March 18 Primary Election. Today the McClellan School referendum is highlighted.

MT. VERNON — The McClellan Grade School board will be asking voters in its district to increase the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law.

“Shall the limiting rate under the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law for McClellan Community Consolidated School District Number 12, Jefferson County, Illinois, be increased by an additional amount equal to .99 percent above the limiting rate for any purpose of said school district for levy year 2012 and be equal to 3.24280 percent of the equalized assessed value of the taxable property therein for levy year 2013?”

Superintendent Charles Peterson said this is the second time the district has asked for the increase.

“If the 99 cent referendum passes, it would mean $75,000 more for the school,” Peterson explained. “General State Aid has been cut, and we rely on General State Aid and property taxes for our income. With the deficit, we’re scraping the bottom of the barrel to make ends meet. We have cut as much as we can cut. This additional levy amount will help.”

Peterson said the district lost students for the past 10 years, and has only recently started rebounding — another factor in losing state aid, which is based in part on student enrollment.

“Ten to 15 years ago, there were 100 kids,” Peterson said. “Last year there were 46 in kindergarten through eighth grade. Right now, we have 65 kids, so we’re heading in the right direction.”

Peterson said classes have been combined and all teaching staff is done to the minimums.

“Kindergarten is a class by itself, but all the others are two grades in one classroom,” Peterson said. “We can’t cut the utilities any more, we can’t cut the teachers any more.”

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