JACKSON COUNTY, IL (KFVS) - A Jackson County school is now seeing the benefit of the County Facility Sales Tax that passed two years ago.
Murphysboro Superintendent Chris Grode says he is happy and thankful for the Jackson County Facility Sales Tax that passed in November 2016. "I'm really appreciative for the county facility sales tax passing," says Grode.
The one percent sales tax allows for upgrades in Jackson County schools.
Last year, the roof collapsed at Murphysboro High School, so the renovations are made possible by a portion of the funds collected from those taxes and insurance, according to Grode.
"Our HVAC system broke through the roof of our auditorium and we had a full failure of our trust system,” Grode says. “This auditorium was desperately needed because we had sold out performances for our middle and high school plays. we are going to be able to sit more people and really just do it justice to the arts program we have here in Murphysboro." The Murphysboro Mayor Will Stephens says the “controversial sales tax” passed with at 57% vote.
In 2016 members of the Carbondale Chamber of commerce said the tax would be unfair.
The former Executive Director of the Carbondale Chamber of Commerce, Les O’Dell, says, “So in essence--- people who live and do business in Carbondale--- will be funding schools in other communities and we don’t think that is the most equitable way of funding schools.” However, Superintendent Grode says it’s a win-win for the community and for the kids. “I live in this county and I don’t like taxes, however, funding of schools with property taxes is just extremely regressive as the state goes. this one percent sales tax allows us to do needed upgrades with the facilities...it’s allowed us to put money back into the community. that’s going to give us more money to put back in the community. Every dollar we spend in Jackson county, we try to keep here in Jackson County. And that’s just economic development.”
Grode says the school hired local companies like Fager McGee Commercial Construction and W.J. Burke Electric, both companies from Murphysboro.
The renovations should be done by December, according to Grode.