Peoria County School Facility Sales TaxThe County School Facility Sales Tax represents the first shift away from relying on property taxes for local school district funding in Illinois. The law went into effect in 2007 (based on a similar law in Iowa) allowing voters to approve a sales tax to fund school facility needs. Voters will be asked to approve the Peoria County School Facility Sales Tax on Tuesday, November 8, 2016.
The sales tax is for one half percent on qualifying retail purchases. School Boards representing many of the resident student enrollment in Peoria County have passed resolutions approving the sales tax resolution, and the question will be placed on the ballot at the next scheduled election.Dr. Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat
Peoria Public Schools
Information about the County School Facility Sales TaxRetail sales that are NOT taxed include:
Sales Tax Revenues CAN be used for:
- Unprepared Food (groceries)
- Prescriptions and over-the-counter medications
- Cars, Trucks, ATV’s, Boats, & RVs, Mobile Homes
- Farm Equipment, Parts, and Farm Inputs
- Services are also not taxed
- If it is not currently taxed, it will not be taxed
- New School Facilities
- Additions & Renovations
- Land Acquisition
- Safety and Security Improvements
- Energy Efficiency
- Paying Off Building Bonds
- Architectural Planning/Engineering
- Durable Equipment
School Boards are responsible for making the decisions regarding how sales tax dollars will be spent on facility needs in each district.Sales Tax dollars CANNOT be used for:
- Salaries and benefits
- Instructional costs
- Textbooks and computers
- Moveable equipment
- School buses
- Operating costs
Why is this needed now?Many school districts in Peoria County are facing serious facility needs. Safety and security improvements to buildings designed in a different era require expensive updating to support learning into the future. Sales tax revenues can address facility needs over time while using competitive local contractors. The county sales tax for schools addresses facility funding in a manner that shifts away from property taxes.
- The revenues are separated from other district funds and are limited to very specific facility related expenses that are subject to annual audit reviews and available public review.
- Sales Tax revenue to a district is not based on property wealth or state funding sources but rather the percentage of students a district has that live in a county where the county sales tax has been approved.
Frequently Asked QuestionsOn November 8, 2016, voters in Peoria County will vote on a one-half percent sales tax for schools. This section provides answers to some frequently asked questions about this innovative approach to school funding.
The county sales tax for schools is a new approach to provide improved school facilities, support local jobs and shift funding away from property taxes across Peoria County. The November proposal asks voters to decide on a countywide, one-half percent sales tax utilized only for school facilities. The revenue from this sales tax will fund school improvements without increasing property taxes.
$100.00 of grocery food = no increase
$50.00 of gas = 25 cents
$15,000 car/truck = no increase
$7.00 of fast food = 3.5 cents
$450.00 TV = $2.25
$40.00 of medicine = no increase
$70.00 pair of shoes = 35 cents
Funds from this sales tax can be used only for maintaining, renovating and upgrading existing school facilities, for new construction and paying off building bonds that can help reduce property taxes. Each school district in the county decides how to use revenues.Peoria Public Schools has identified the following as some of the most critical needs that the sales tax could assist in completing:- Add HVAC - $20-$25 million
- Provide $11 million to health-life-safety projects
- Upgrade school security
- Enhance technology Infrastructure
- Energy Efficiency (lighting, windows)
- Complete pay-as-you-go facilities projects including athletic facilities, auditorium renovations
- Replace bad roofs
The resources provided by the county sales tax for schools will pay for school facility maintenance and improvements that would otherwise be funded by property taxes. Peoria County school districts with outstanding building bonds would be able to apply new revenue to retire, or pay off, the existing building and life safety bonds thus lowering the property tax. New revenues would allow a district to be less dependent on new bonding and/or levying property taxes to pay for costly facility projects.
If the County School Facility Sales Tax passes, the county revenues for schools are projected to generate approximately $644 annually per student living in Peoria County. It is estimated to be nearly nine-million dollars total across the county. For example, that would mean $64,400 each year for every 100 students enrolled with a Peoria County residence.
Any person who travels through or visits Peoria County and makes a qualifying retail purchase would be contributing to the revenues for the Peoria County school facilities.For Peoria Public Schools alone, it is projected that visitors would bring in more than a million dollars annually in additional revenues.
How will this benefit our local economy?Investing in school improvements and construction in Peoria County has potential to boost our local economy. Many projects funded by this sales tax will put people to work across Peoria County. Local contractors and businesses through competitive bids and prices will benefit as sales tax revenues are used for approved facility projects. Circulating the money within Peoria County can promote job creation or retention, economic growth for our communities and a better quality of life for everyone in our county.
Excellent school systems with quality facilities and learning environments are a key ingredient in attracting families to live within our county.
- Better schools
This dedicated revenue source will keep schools and classrooms maintained for safety, security, and sustainability.
- Jobs and economic growth
Many projects funded by the sales tax will put local people to work and support local businesses throughout Peoria County.
- Local control of funds
Every school district will control how it uses this tax revenue through the elected school board members who represent each school community.
- Property tax relief
A sales tax represents a shift away from property taxes. School districts will be able to become less reliant on property taxes with options to pay off existing bonds or avoid new property taxes.
- Visitors help to fund schools
Visitors to Peoria County will support schools with their spending. A portion of sales tax revenue is generated from non-residents of Peoria County.
- Attracting new families
Schools will more attractive to families through quality school facilities. Attracting new families and retaining our current residents help to ensure a positive future across Peoria County.How do school facilities improve the quality of education in our schools?
The revenue provided by the sales tax will mean an improved learning environment including an emphasis on safety and security for students across the county. Buildings will be maintained to increase their future years of service to our community. This revenue will allow Peoria County school districts to provide the facilities necessary to support a 21st century education, which is critical to ensuring that our students have the tools they need to compete in a changing economy.How will the county sales tax for schools appear on the November 8, 2016 ballot?
The proposal will appear as follows:
Proposition for a .5% Sales Tax for School Facility Purposes “Shall a retailer’s occupation tax and service occupation tax (commonly referred to as a “Sales Tax”) be imposed in the Peoria County at a rate of .5% to be used exclusively for school facility purposes?”