MORTON — With a bit of reluctance, the Morton School Board voted Tuesday to recommend placing a 1 percent Tazewell County school facilities sales tax on the April 2 ballot.
The same measure was defeated by voters in November by a 51.5 to 48.5 percent margin after it was rejected by larger margins in 2009 and 2013.
Board members expressed concerns about putting the sales tax back on the ballot so quickly even though Tazewell County superintendents want to do it.
But only board member Jeff Schmidgall voted against the resolution, which passed 5-1.
"The timing is bothersome to me," Schmidgall said.
School boards representing at least 50 percent of Tazewell County public school students must pass resolutions like the one passed Tuesday to have the sales tax placed on the ballot.
Morton Superintendent Jeff Hill said he wasn't aware of any Tazewell County school board that is against putting the sales tax on the ballot.
While they didn't vote on it Tuesday, Morton board members plan to freeze the district's property tax levy for a year instead of raising it by the consumer price index as allowed by tax caps and use sales revenue to pay off construction bonds if the sales tax passes.
"If we're going to ask voters to approve a permanent sales tax increase, we should give them permanent property tax relief by freezing the levy," Schmidgall said.
Also Tuesday, board members approved seeking bids for Phase 1 of a two-phase project to improve security and traffic flow, add classroom space and build a gymnasium at Morton Junior High School.
Phase 1, with an estimated cost of $2.5 million, includes a new administration office and main entryway into the school, driveways for the pickup and drop-off of students, remodeled classrooms and more parking.
Steve Stein can be reached at (248) 224-2616 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @SpartanSteve.