Nettles explains 1 percent tax for local schools

Katy O'Grady-Pyne
Posted 3/22/22

Nettles explains 1 percent tax for local schools

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Nettles explains 1 percent tax for local schools


CLINTON — Clinton Superintendent Curt Nettles is wondering if the third time may be the charm in getting the 1 percent sales tax for school facilities approved by voters.

DeWitt County voters have rejected the proposed tax twice, but Nettles told school board members at the March 15 meeting that he believes they may not fully understand its benefits to the district

A 2007 state law allows voters to approve a sales tax to fund school facility needs. The sales tax is 1 percent (or one cent on every dollar) spent on qualifying retail purchases. To date, 57 counties in Illinois have passed the tax to benefit their schools and communities, Nettles said.

The tax could provide $870,000 annually to the district, Nettles estimated.
The 1 percent facilities sales tax does not apply to cars, food, farm equipment, prescriptions and more and can only be used for school facility needs or improvements. It cannot be used for salaries. 

Nettles said he was sharing the information so board members could consider if they want to add it to a future ballot.   

“If we do (propose the tax), we should be in it to win it,” said Nettles, adding previous rejections had been by only about 300 votes.

School board members also heard a presentation by Clinton High School foreign language teacher Joe Scanavino about the German American Partnership Program (GAPP) which allows high school juniors and seniors to partner with German students and their families. If approved by the board, Clinton students could visit Germany for more than two weeks and the German students would visit Clinton for nearly four weeks. 

This fall will be the first year German is being offered in Clinton and currently there are 85 students signed up for German I. 

Why German? Scanavino said people who understand business, automotive, health, and pharmacy--recognize a knowledge of German is important. 

“In all those fields you see a lot of things coming out of Germany,” he said.

Scanavino said the cost to the district would be minimal as the students stay with Clinton families. 

In other business, the board:

Learned the high school’s Mental Health First Aid program has been presented to other area school boards and is now being considered for junior high students. “This district does not take mental health lightly at all,” said Nettles.

Received gratitude from Nettles for the board and community support he has received during the pandemic, adding other superintendents have faces threats and name calling. “I think you should know the CSBE has integrity.”

Approved the hiring of Karla Brady and Justin Curless, bus monitors; Jennifer Owen, van driver; Julia Reynolds, bus driver; Nicole Biaz, Tamara Burch, Justin Curless, drivers in training; Kristopher Garrison, CJHS custodian; Morgan Blassi, CHS aide; Allie Nixon, CHS cheer coach; Abbey Nixon, volunteer assistant cheer coach; Jacob Phillips, CJHS girls assistant track coach; and Brian Ennis as CJHS head baseball coach.