Shelbyville Daily Union

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January 17, 2014

County schools look to sales tax for financial help

Shelby County voters will be asked once again to support a one percent sales tax increase to help their school districts. The referendum will be on the March ballot.

The county School Facility Occupation Tax increases the amount of sales tax by a penny for each dollar spent. The amount may sound small to the consumer, but the effect on schools would be significant.

Area school districts are faced again with trimming their budgets as the State continues its trend to cut state aid. State aid is used for educating students. Projects such as repairing and improving the school buildings is not funded by state aid and are many times pushed to the bottom of the list.

“We’re trying to make budgets while not knowing what the state aid amount is going to be,” said Shelbyville district superintendent Denise Bence. “We have to make personnel decisions in March but we won’t know the state aid amount for the next school year until May.”

Dr. Kyle VonSchnase, superintendent and Middle School principal at Central A&M, said his district is at “bare bones” now. He has taken on both positions in the district to help save money. Bence added that the position open due to the recent retirement of Karen Miller as Special Education director will not be filled to help save money in the Shelbyville district.

“We’re trying to cut costs and cut costs without having to eliminate programs,” Bence said.

“All district are having to do more with less money without sacrificing student learning,” VonSchnase said.

The county sales tax referendum has failed twice in recent years, but the second time was only by 200 votes. Since then Christian and Macon counties have passed their sales tax referendums and Central A&M is expecting funds as a result.

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