Trimble turns down school ‘nickel tax’
Wednesday, November 09, 2016 3:01 PM
Trimble County voters said no to the “nickel tax” sought by the Trimble County School Board in Tuesday’s election.
The measure, which would have enabled the district to leverage millions of dollars in state funding to rebuild an aging and deteriorating Trimble County High School, lost by 333 votes with 1,967 voting against and 1,634 voting in favor.
“Even though we came up short, this has been, from the beginning, something that we said is a community decision,” Superintendent Steve Miracle said in a response to a text from the Madison Courier. “Unfortunately, those issues and problems (with the facility) are still there before us, so our district is in a very tenuous position moving forward and will be for some time.”
The proposed tax would have generated 5 cents in taxes for every $100 of assessed real property – an increase of about $50 a year on a property valued at $100,000.
Levying the tax, which would have generated $290,670 in annual revenue – about $6.4 million toward bonding – a key requirement that would have enabled the district to obtaining as much as $15 million from the state’s “urgent needs” fund for low-ranking school facilities. The district would not have been required to repay the state funds.
The plan to rebuild the high school was part of a plan formulated by the Local Planning Commission, a panel of 22 people from the community and the schools, which met for several months earlier this year to compile the district’s facilities plan.
In an August interview, LPC Chairman Shelly Ginn said “building a new facility is more cost-effective than rebuilding and enhancing the existing facility, which was built in phases in 1962 and 1969. The gymnasium, built in the 1980s, would have remained.
Miracle said the decision “makes my job a little more difficult, but I still have the same passion and commitment” and he plans to continue “to improve the district (and) each school. I’m proud to be here working with the great group of people on our staff,” who he said are committed to the students and the district.
He also thanked those who supported the tax, and especially those who worked to get information out about the tax issue, despite the loss. “They sacrificed a great amount of time and effort in order to try to improve the school district and the community. ... They have great passion for our students and our school district.”