OUR OPINION: Constitutional amendment is a sticky proposal

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 2, 2007

When considering the pro&8217;s and con&8217;s of Amendment Two, it is difficult finding a starting point.

On its face, the amendment is a good one. It would require all school districts to have at least 10 mills annually allocated to their local school district. This would fill a loophole created in a 1995 law that says school districts must have a minimum of 10 mills to receive their full share of state funding.

Two districts adversely affected by the 1995 law who would benefit from the proposed amendment are Linden and Marengo County. Their poor tax bases has deprived them of approximately $250,000 each this year in needed funds.

Email newsletter signup

But the truth is that for most of the districts who will be the beneficiaries of additional millage, the property-owners in the area will see a tax increase.

We must say, we do not favor a tax increase imposed on individual areas by the entire state. In a perfect world, this decision would be made by only the affected areas.

Still, this is a state law that could affect other areas in the future. Therefore, the logic of it being a constitutional amendment is sound. When voters go to the polls, they are voting as to whether or not they are willing to pay enough taxes to adequately support their schools.

Furthermore, we&8217;re not talking about a lot of money here. According to The Associated Press, the millage rate is $1 per $1,000 in value. So, if someone owns a $100,000 home, they would pay $10 in additional property taxes per mill.

In Linden and Marengo County, the current millage rate is 8 mills allocated to the schools. If the county or city had no resort but to raise property taxes to cover the additional millage, then a person owning a $100,000 home would only pay $20 extra each year. That&8217;s not much to ensure adequately funded schools.

The better solution would be for the state to stand up and address the situation without passing it along to local governments. This is a failure of our state leaders to provide adequate education funding.

But as an alternative &8212; even with the reservations &8212; the amendment provides a sound base for schools.