A local amendment featured on the Nov. 3 general election ballot, known as the “district option,” passed in St. Clair County by a tight margin, with 50.68 percent of voters choosing “yes” to the amendment and 49.32 percent choosing “no”.
The amendment allows for residents of school districts to choose whether or not to raise their property taxes to benefit the schools in their region.
Those who choose to raise their property taxes to benefit school funding have the option to file for a special election before the Board of Education.
Residents and public officials on both sides took keen interest in the issue.
For Superintendent Mike Howard and other members of the St. Clair County Board of Education, getting the amendment passed was important to the future of their schools. The option for an increase in school funding allows for more opportunities.
“We are excited that it passed,” Howard said. “This opens up different avenues for us.”
According to Howard, had the amendment not passed, the county would have been in a precarious situation financially. Expansion and improvement of school facilities throughout the county would have proven difficult had the amendment failed.
With the district option now passed, next steps include listening to schools and districts about where they would like to go from here.
While Howard says he will not lobby one way or the other for a district to choose to increase their property taxes, he says he will be available to consult any party that chooses to raise their funding via the property tax. New schools, stadiums and other facilities could be wanted by certain schools and districts.