Stewardson-Strasburg School District residents are being asked to aid the district financially through a small temporary property tax increase.
The proposition is included on the April 9 ballot and will affect property taxes payable in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018. After the 5-year period, the increase will drop back to the previous level.
“We’re trying to do what we have to to survive,” said Stewardson-Strasburg superintendent Steve Harsy. The proposed tax increase is in addition staffing cuts and proposed sharing of staff with the Neoga School District, who is also facing difficult financial measures.
Harsy explained that the proposed 0.5 percent increase is expected to make up the $300,000 shortage in state aid and balance the district’s budget.
“We are suffering rough times caused by the State of Illinois,” Harsy said. “We’re trying to find every way to be effective and efficient.”
The increase would, for example, raise the property tax on a $100,000 home with the Homestead Exemption by $156 per year, or roughly $13 per month.
The district held a community meeting Thursday night to inform residents what the proposition means.
“There were about 150 people there and there was an overwhelming sense that the community seems to be supportive. There were a couple of questions raised that were related, but no one said they would vote ‘no’,” Harsy said.
The proposition on the ballot reads: “Shall the maximum tax rate for the tax which Stewardson-Strasburg Community Unit School District No. 5A, Shelby and Effingham Counties, Illinois, levies for educational purposes, be increased for a period of 5 years by 0.05 percent, from the currently authorized rate of 2.0 percent to a rate not to exceed 2.50 percent upon the value of taxable property within the District as equalized or assessed by the Department of Revenue, as authorized by Article 17 of the School Code?”