Proposed retail sales tax would be shared by 14 school districts

By Lauren Stewart

Illinois Student Senate tabled a referendum Wednesday night supporting a proposed sales tax for Champaign County school districts.

The proposed 1 percent tax on general retail will appear on the April ballot in Champaign County and, if passed, will be shared among 14 different school districts.

President of the Champaign County Board of Education David Tomlinson told the student senate that the tax will help fix the continuing challenges faced by Champaign County grade schools and high schools: lack of resources for both faculty and students, and school buildings that need renovation.

Tomlinson listed the benefits college students would receive from this tax, and where the tax dollars would go in the long run.

He explained that Champaign County is in “virtually no debt” compared to other areas with large metropolitan centers like Cook County.

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Senators had mixed opinions.

Student senator Tyler Deitz, sophomore in Business, said that he would need to investigate the proposition further before he votes for or against it.

“I as a student don’t support it,” said student senator Charitee Rummage, junior in LAS. “It is not fair to vote on something when you have only heard one side. I think it will take some more investigation before it gets my vote.”

Others felt strongly about the referendum.

Senator Carey Ash, graduate student, was in full support of college students paying the tax. He said that Champaign’s grade school students today will be the University’s students of tomorrow.

“I wholeheartedly agree,” Ash said. “I can’t think of a more worthy cause at the present moment than the future, and that is what the children in elementary and high school are. They are our future.”

Some student senators such as Jessica Remke did not feel that they were enough benefits for college students who would only be in Champaign for a limited amount of time.

The senate will discuss the referendum further at their next meeting on March 18.