Illinois School Loses Referendum Vote, Piles On More Debt

Bartonville, a town in Peoria County, Illinois, is home to Limestone Community High School. Limestone recently developed a referendum on how its community handled taxes.

Currently, people living in the district that is home to Limestone Community High School pay about $2.55 for every $100 in assessed valuation (taxes required to be paid on homes and property).

That overall tax rate – $2.55 on every $100 – would not have changed, if the referendum had been voted into effect. Currently, and prior to the vote, 96 cents of that $2.55 went to the education fund. The referendum would have beefed that up to $1.69 of every $2.55.

Bartonville’s district in question levies 73 cents of each $2.55 in the name of its debt service fund. That was going to be eliminated and tacked on to the current 96-cent apportionment to the education fund.

Allan Gresham, the Superintendent of Limestone Community High School, claimed that the district would have saved a whopping $395,000 in annual interest and debt payments. Over the coming two years, they would have wiped out about $1.4 million of the education fund’s deficit.

The local government is consistently forced to borrow money, losing the locality money, to cover such funding. Limestone’s referendum would have saved the county money, and eliminated a need to borrow in coming years.

Unfortunately for the sake of public education at Limestone Community High School, it didn’t change.

Voters shot down the tax rate referendum, which would have affected the community’s education fund, by exactly 177 votes. 1,279 people – 47.7 percent – of voters were in favor of the change, whereas an even 53 percent – 1,456 votes – were against the referendum to the education fund.

Gresham said, “This is just a better way of doing business.” Oh well, debt is always fun.

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