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M-R Schools Seek Tax Increase

Monmouth, IL – The Monmouth-Roseville School Board has officially begun the process of seeking a county-wide one percent sales tax increase.

Board members gave Superintendent Paul Woehlke the authority to begin crafting a resolution to be presented at next month's board meeting. One approved by the school board, the document must be sent to the full county board, which will decide whether the resolution will be placed on the ballot in November.

The Monmouth-Roseville school district faced a "double-whammy" of sorts this fiscal year. The state fell behind in payments it had already promised, and consolidation incentives from the Monmouth/Roseville merger in 2005 ran out.

Woehlke says an increase in the county-wide sales tax would be a good, and fair, way to help fix the problem.

"[The public has] some say about whether they incur that tax," says Woehlke. "They make the decision whether to purchase something or not."

He says another option would be to seek a property tax increase, but that would force every homeowner to pay more without giving them choices.

Woehlke says Warren County's current sales tax sits at 7.5 percent. If approved by voters, that would increase to 8.5 percent. Monmouth residents would pay even more, as a city-wide one percent sales tax increase was recently approved.

Woehlke estimates an increased county-wide sales tax would net between $500,000 and $600,000 per year, but could only be used for facility improvement. That's why he calls it a school facility tax. Employee salaries and benefits, which take up the majority of any school district's funding, could not be paid using these funds.