Viewpoint: Superintendent encourages parents, staff, community members to attend public hearing on sales tax increase
Dear Parents, Staff and Community Members:
The Iredell-Statesville Schools (I-SS) along with our colleagues in the Mooresville Graded School District (MGSD) and Mitchell Community College (MCC) have recently advocated for additional funding from our county commissioners. Each school system has recently had resolutions approved by their boards to support a ¼-cent increase to the local sales tax. In addition, the Mitchell Community College Board of Trustees unanimously approved requesting an increase of the local sales tax rate at their recent meeting.
In response to these resolutions, the Iredell County Commissioners have agreed to hold a public hearing on this topic Tuesday, June 19, 2018, at the Iredell County Administrative Building (the old courthouse), located at 200 S. Center Street, Statesville, NC 28677. The meeting starts at 7 p.m. however; due to the expected large turnout, you may want to arrive at 6:15 p.m. to ensure seating. Public comments will be allowed during this meeting for those that sign up at you enter the meeting.
Please see graphs that show Iredell County’s current property tax rate and the current sales tax rate. These graphs also show rates for our neighboring counties. You can also see a chart, which was prepared by the staff of Iredell County that shows the estimated revenue that would be generated, in the current economy, with a ¼-cent increase to the sales tax. This chart also shows the amount of revenue that each school system, the college and the county could receive should the voters approve a ¼-cent increase to the sales tax.
The goal of this meeting is to ask the county commissioners to place the ¼-cent sales tax as a referendum on the ballot in the general election, which is scheduled for November 6, 2018.
I-SS is ranked 114th out of the 115 school systems in North Carolina for per pupil funding (See chart: http://apps.schools.nc.gov/ords/f?p=145:35:::NO:.) This fact alone should alarm everyone and help explain why I-SS is advocating so strongly for additional funding. To be fair to our county commissioners it is important to remind everyone that they have been extremely supportive of public education in the past.
In fact, as you review the Per Pupil Funding Chart, please note that local per pupil funding is ranked at 65th in the state. Also, our county provides funding for capital improvements and the construction of our schools, which is not factored into per pupil funding. We should also be mindful to thank our hard working tax payers for their investment in public education which leads to increased economic development, better paying jobs, and an improved quality of life for all citizens.
I encourage you to attend this important meeting and let the Iredell County commissioners know where you stand on this critical question.
Brady Johnson, Superintendent