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January 15, 2011     Times
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January 15, 2011
 

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"It's old news, but there's nothing else wrong with it." Mark Twain Havinig stedents meet or exceed state requirements on the standardized tests is goal Mrs. Koehler, Mrs. Lisnek, and Mr. West gave a report on the High School English program during the Decem- ber Mt. Pulaski School District Board meeting. Mrs. Lisnek discussed that all the English classes, at every level, work on vocabulary, reading literature, gram- mar worksheets, and research papers. All three teachers agreed that the main goal is to prepare the students for standardized testing. The textbooks being used for English classes do meet the State standards and goals so as long as they are teach- ing from the textbook, the students are meeting state goals. Mrs. Koehler also added that the question and answer part of the textbooks are similar to questions on the PSAE. Mike Toohey inquired as to whether term papers or standard research papers are still required by the stu- dents. Mrs. Lisnek reported that term paper/research papers are still required by the students and are due in the 3rd quarter. Jeff Haley asked if the teachers feel as if they have everything they need, material wise. All teachers replied that they did, but they would like to talk further about introducing some kind of incentive program for students who meet or exceed on the standardized tests. Mr. Morgan stated he would like to get "test prep" materials such as books, workbooks, and computer pro- grams that he feels would be beneficial to the students. "In Other Business" From the Dec. 20 School Board Meeting President Meister called the meeting to order at 6:00 p.m. in the Unit Office. Roll call was taken. Present were Doug Martin. Kathy Boward, Joe Olson, Diane Deppe, Jeff Haley, David Meister and Mike Toohey. Also pres- ent were Superintendent Phil .Shelton, Grade School Principal Gene Newton and High School Principal Terry Morgan. The School Energy grant (ISBE) has been filed. Deci- sion expected in January. Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity will start a natural gas energy efficiency grant program and. if the timing is right, both grants could be applied to the Mt. Pulaski Grade School boiler project. ISBE School Maintenance grant is scheduled to be available this spring. This is the grant used with Health= ..... Life Safety Funds to replace the high school bleachers. Superintendent Shelton has spoken with ISBE about the School Construction grant. District could receive the $800,000 grant in the summer of 2012. The Board approved the 2010-2011 Mt. Pulaski District #23 seniority list. The Board adopted the 2010 tax levy as presented. The Board approved the advance fuel purchase for six months at $2.94/gallon for 8000 gallons. January 8, 2011 .q Published Twice A Month - 24 Issues A Year $15o Elkhart Blood Drive ~r- mr"o 0 A blood drive will be held at Elkhart Christian Church Thursday, January 13 from 3 to 6 pm. Call Lucille to sign up at 947-2702 or schedule an appointment online at www.cicbc.org. Walk-ins are also welcome and truly appreciated. Soup & Chili Supper Jan. 29 Mt Pulaski First United Methodist Church will host a Soup & Chili Supper Sat. Jan. 29 from 4 to 7 p.m. Supper is by donation. Menu - Beef vegetable soup and chili, grilled cheese, hotdogs, drinks, and desserts. - Carryout available. Mt Pulaski 175th Private Awards Party - June 30 Springfield's Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum Tickets ($35) on sale now at Salt Creek Attic, The Farm- ers Bank & Illinois National Bank. Includes all museum displays, shows, food & drinks. 175th Thank You The 175th Committee would like to say thank you to our community and to the many volunteers who helped make our New Year's Eve 2011 Kickoff Celebration such a great success. We especially would like to thank: Salt Creek Attic, First Christian Church, Saddle's Secret Place, Mt. Pulaski Phoenix Fire Department, Vintage One, LTD, Miranda Beccue, Buff's Restaurant, Chris Decker, The Farmers Bank, Gloria Morrow, Gerald Goodman, Les Evans, Bassetts Plumbing - Heating and Cooling, Mt. Pulaski High School National Honor Society, VFW, Mt. Pulaski Courthouse - Wally Kautz, MPTHS Historical Museum, Richner's Hilltop Catering, Pizza Man, and Zion Lutheran Church. Nit Pulaski History Book Reprint (1836-1986 Blue Book) FINAL deadline for ordering a reprint of the Blue Book will be January 14. This will be the last and only reprint. If interested call Sue Schaffenacker at 792-5693 (sueeddie@frontier, com) or Joyce Maxheimer at 792-5723. The amount is $58.70 per book. Order forms can be obtained at www.mtpulaskiil.com or www.mtpulaski175th.net. This is the FINAL EXTEN- SION. Mt. Pulaski New 175th History Book (Red Book) The FINAL deadline for submissions for the Red His- tory Book is January 31, 2011. This will be the last and ETNAL extensor, for family an.eL-military histories. They can be mailed to Sue Schaffenacker, 9 Lamplighter Cr., Mt. Pulaski, IL 62548, 792-5693 or left at The Salt Creek Attic, Mt. Pulaski Library, City Clerk's Office or 9 Lamp- lighter Cr. Also, memorial pages and dedication pages are available. Please get your submissions in by January 31,2011. Books can still be ordered at the early bird price of $58.71. Call Sue Schaffenacker at 792-5693 (sueeddie@frontier.com information only) or Joyce Maxheimer at 792-5723. 17Yh Meeting Mt. Pulaski 175th Celebration meetings are at 9 a.m. the first and third Saturdays of each month at the Mt. Pulaski VFW Hall. AA Meeting Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, 6-7:30, Thurs. evenings, Mt. Pulaski Christian Church, Family Life Center. CHESTNUT EMS - NOTICE Starting January 12,2011, Chestnut EMS is increasing their level of patient care from non transport 1st Responder to non transport BLS. The Chestnut Fire Dept..will remain at the non transport 1st responder level. Closed for Carpet Installation Mt. Pulaski Library will be dosed Saturday, January 8 to Friday, Janu- ary 14. The library re-opens Saturday, January 15. 1989 Lady Toppers Looking for a photo of 1989 1 Place Lady Toppers volleyball team. Have one? Please call 792-5672. By Mike Lakin An opportunity to add a special sales tax (up to an addi- tional 1%) to the Logan County Sales Tax was taken by the Mt. Pulaski School District Board. The School Board unanimously approved a Logan County Sales Tax Reso- lution. The resolution is the first step that each Logan County School District must take to place the Sales Tax Increase proposal on the April Election Ballot. President David Meister and Superintendent Phil Shelton attended the December 16 Logan County Board meeting regarding the Logan County Sales Tax Resolution. The proposed special sales tax will gener- ate revenue for county school districts. The Mt. Pulaski School District would use any revenues received for capital improvements to buildings. The School Board stated that any remaining Health Life Safety and Work- ing Cash bonds could also be abated with the proposed Sales Tax Increase. What is the Special Schnnl Sales Tax? It is based on an Illinois Law that provides school districts a chance to generate money through sales taxes rather than property taxes. Money from the School Sales Tax is available to all school districts having terri- tory within the county where the tax is established. Tax money from the School Sales Tax is divided among the schools in a county based on enrolled students residing in the county. The sales tax increase is limited to a maximum of 1 percent, or a penny on each dollar, and can be raised m increments of a quarter-percent. General merchandise is taxable (excluding vehicles, watercraft, aircraft, trail- ers, mobile homes and medical supplies), but the county tax wil not be collected on [ood and drugs. Agri- cultural sales, such as farm equipment, feed, seed. fertil- izer, chemicals and livestock reproduction, are subject to the tax. Under the Act, money generated through the county sales tax can only be used for "school facility pur- poses," defined as "acquisition, development, con- struction, reconstruction, rehabilitation, improvement, financing, architectural planning, and installation of capital facilities consisting of buildings, structures and durable equipment." It can also be used for the "acquisi- tion and improvement of real property; Interest in real property required, or expected to be required, in connec- tion with the capital facilities." Usage does also extend to updating systems for fire prevention, safety, security, energy conservation and disabled access. The tax is collected by the Department of Revenue and placed into the School Facility Occupation Tax Fund. Each month, the Department of Revenue dictates the specified amount to the state comptroller. This amount is then distributed to the regional superintendent of schools in the county where the tax was collected. The amount distributed to each local school is based on the fall housing report enrollment data. Th,irty days after receiving the funds, the ROE issues the money to any school district having territory in the county where students attending that school live in the county adopting the sales tax. Schools receiving these funds are required to keep them in a specific, separate account designated for school facility purposes. Who benefits? While the district benefits from access to additional funds, the community benefits as money generated through the county sales tax can potentially replace some of the dependence on local real estate taxes. The county sales tax also allows all school districts to benefit directly from tax generated based on their student enrollment, not just on the local business base. This new tax is not based on property wealth and state foundation level funding sources but rather whether the student attends a school where the county sales tax has been adopted. Because each district's percentage of the tax is adjusted annually, if enrollm6nt increases, the school district will be eligible for more money from the pool generated. The county school sales tax has a few negatives. First is that this is a tax and will result in a slight cost increase in merchandise for consumers. The other negative is that it is regarded as a "regressive tax," one that affects lower income population more than upper income brackets. A major benefit is the school sales tax spreads the income generated to all the school districts in the county, even when the majority of the sales revenue may 0nlY be accrued in one part of the county. How does it work? Under the County Schools Facility Occupation Tax Law, either the county board unilaterally, or school boards representing 51 percent of the county student enrollment that would like to implement the law, must submit a ballot question to the voters to be approved or rejected. The question must be placed on the ballot by the county board either way. A sample question that could be put to the voters would read:' "Should Logan County be authorized to impose a retailers' occupation tax and a service occupa- non tax (commonly referred to as a 'sales tax') at a rate of 1 percent to be used exclusively for school facility purposes?" The question needs only a simple majority of votes countywide to be put into law. After the vote is cast, the county board still has the f'mal say in determining whether the tax will be applied or not. Once a sales tax question is passed in the county and the schools learn how much revenue it will generate, the district can sell alternate revenue bonds or "double-bar- reled" bonds. These bonds combine the benefits of rev- enue bonds with general obligation bonds. Revenue Bonds are bonds that are payable from a pledge of the proceeds against a specific tax. Unlike General Obligation bonds and their unlimited ability to raise taxes, with these bonds, the issuer is limited as to its source for the revenue to pay the bonds. General Obligation Bonds are backed by the full faith and credit of the issuer for prompt payment of principal and interest. Many bonds issued by a city, county, or school district, also have the added security that they can raise property taxes to assure payment. This guarantee is of an unlimited nature. The issuer can raise taxes as high as they want to pay the bonds. If the property tax is not paid, the property can be sold at auction giving the bondholder a superior claim above mortgages, mechani- cal liens, and encumbrances. Combining these two bonds is referred to as "double- barreled bonds." These bonds are considered safe having two pledged sources of security: revenue from the project and the taxing power of the issuer. Alternate revenue bor~ds do not count against the district's bonded debt limit. Because of this, the school is permitted to sell bonds up to the amount that the revenue from the sales tax can support. The sales tax can be applied as long as there is out- standing bonded debt and cannot be eliminated as long as that debt exists. As long as debt remains on bonds issued by any district in the county, the county board is prohibited from termi- nating the sales tax. Twenffy years is typically the longest term for these types of bonds and in some rare cases, up to 40 years. Once the bond payment has been fulfilled for any bonds issued relying on the sales tax for payment, the sales tax can be eliminated. One problem with the law as .written is that the word- ing makes it fairly open-ended. The current wording states that the county board may not reduce or terminate the tax as long as doing so would inhibit the ability to repay outstanding bonds. Important Points If approved, the tax can only be used for school buildings. It cannot be used for any other purposes. It is" fund specific" tax revenue. The Logan County Board must take action to place it on the April Election Ballot. The Funds from the School Sales Tax can be used to pay the remainder of the cost of construction that promised from a state school construction bill that never was implemented by the state of Illinois. County School Districts have the opportunity to (but do not have to) use the School Sale Tax income to abate real estate taxes. Information Sources - Illinois Association of School Boards, Illi- nois State Board of Education, and miscellaneous sources.