School board acts to push proposed sales tax increase to April 2017 ballot

OTHSO’FALLON – The District 203 Board of Education passed a resolution at their recent meeting that will directly impact when voters will have an opportunity to decide on a proposed county-wide school facilities sales tax.

The ballot measure was originally slated to be on the November ballot this year. However, according to Superintendent Darcy Benway, school officials around the county were concerned voters wouldn’t be interested in learning about the proposal due to the presidential election.

“We realized that there is so much volatility surrounding the election that the message about this measure is being squashed out. We feared that if we asked for this to be placed on the ballot in November that people will be so engaged in the national election that they’re not going to pay attention to our message. And this is one of those topics where we feel that voters who are informed will make a good decision at the ballot box,” Benway explained.

In order to move the ballot initiative to the April 2017 election, a school district in St. Clair County needed to rescind their prior resolution supporting the question’s placement on the November 2016 ballot and approve a resolution placing it on the April 2017 ballot. The Board voted five to one to approve the change. Board Member Brandt House voted against the measure and Board Member Mark Christ was not in attendance.

In other business…

  • The Board heard a presentation from Athletic Director Todd Moeller and Dr. Beth Shackelford about extra curriculars at OTHS and student involvement. Last year, Moeller and Shackelford presented evidence that showed student involvement in extra curriculars led to increased GPA. They said the data from the 2015-16 school year backed up those initial findings and that the figures were very similar to the 2014-15 class.