FRANKLIN COUNTY, IL (KFVS) - Heartland voters head to the polls in just a few days. In Franklin County, Illinois voters will be asked if they want a 1% school facilities tax.
At Thompsonville High School students get instruction from their teacher on an assignment. Their classroom is in the basement of the school. But Superintendent Chris Grant says enrollment is up, which means space is cramped for the some 350 students, Pre-Kindergarten through 12th grade, in her district.
Grant says the school also needs basic upgrades and repairs. But she adds with the state budget crisis there's no extra money. She says that's where the 1% school facilities tax would make a difference.
"Most people think well, we were just going to get it and increase salaries and that kind of thing," Grant said. "No. It can't be used for that. It can be only used for the improvement of facilities."
Grant says each district in Franklin County would get a share of the money, collected off the tax of the sale of goods, based on size. She adds it would also help pay down bonds and avoid future property tax increases, all thanks to a few extra coins out of consumers' pockets.
"Interstate 57 is one of the heaviest traveled interstates in the state," Grant said. "Why not get some help from those folks."
Andy Newcomer, from Poplar Bluff Missouri, stopped at a gas station in West Frankfort. He's on his way home. Newcomer says even though he doesn't live in the county he supports the school facilities tax.
"I won't see where they're be a problem, people should be happy to pay that one penny," Newcomer said. "Better schools, better education."
West Frankfort resident Terri Schloss agrees. She has two kids in the school district and would like to see them learn in better facilities.
"Our teachers here are great," Schloss said. "But the buildings are in just such bad shape, like the K through second grade building and the high school both need some work.
Meanwhile Franklin-Williamson Regional Superintendent of Schools Matt Donkin says no formal opposition has come forward. He says the tax would provide more than $225,000 a month for schools in Franklin County.
If approved by voters, the tax would go into effect January 1, 2012.