The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Local Schools

March 10, 2014

Resident seeks to spread message

FULTON, Ill. — The River Bend School District website may soon offer information on a March 18 referendum vote, that if passed, could mean a one percent sales tax increase in the city of Fulton.

Fulton resident Margaret Alstead on Thursday spoke to the River Bend School Board during a special meeting about the referendum and asked to utilize the school’s website to share the pros and cons with the community about the one percent sales tax.

“As a school district we can give factual information out to parents without a bias,” Alstead said.

“I have documentation from the Illinois School Board that says you guys are all citizens the minute you walk out of these meetings and you have the ability to even promote it.”

Her proposal to the board also included issuing voice messages and emails to parents reminding them to vote on March 18, and offering facts about the Whiteside County one percent sales tax.

Included in those facts were how much money could be generated if the referendum is passed, and what that revenue could be used for within the school district.

Margaret’s husband David added that if the school board gave specific examples of what they could use the one percent tax money for, it could act as motivation for people who are unsure of their vote.

“If they had concrete things they’re more likely to vote yes I think,” David Alstead said. “The ‘no’s’ are probably harder to convince but there’s probably a lot of people out there that would consider voting ‘yes’ with a little motivation.”

While the board agreed that the one percent would benefit the county’s schools, they showed restraint for supporting the request because they were unsure of their legal obligations as a district.

“I don’t think that any of us disagree it’s just that gray line,” board president Dan Portz said. “You’re telling us that we can support it as long as it’s factual but when does it become biased or unbiased?”

To meet Alstead in the middle, board vice-president Jane Orman-Luker made the suggestion to direct superintendent Chuck Holliday to seek legal guidance on where the boundaries lie for the district’s participation with the referendum, a motion that passed unanimously.

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