BELOIT — The West Branch School Board is considering an earned income tax for the November ballot.
The board approved a resolution of necessity Thursday night and is asking the state commissioner of taxes to determine the rate needed to generate $1.5 million a year. The rate is estimated at 0.5%.
According to a press release issued by the district, the levy is intended to generate funds for improved safety measures, an increase in technology offerings and the elimination of the pay-to-play model for extracurricular activities.
“Over the past few years, we have made many decisions to make our district financially sound, including evaluating buildings and staff in our district and making adjustments to responsibly use the funds we receive,” Superintendent of Schools Micki Egli said in the statement in reference to the Knox Building closing in 2020.
The district closed the building in the fall of that year due to a drop in student enrollment as part of a district restructuring resulting in the Damascus Early Learning Center for preschool through second, middle school in former Beloit Middle School for grades third through seven and high school for grades eight through 12. The Knox Elementary building had since been used for storage.
In previous meetings, Egli noted that the building, which was built for nearly $6.8 million, with $1.35 million covered locally, has not received a full appraisal because it can never receive for sale the amount it is worth since no one will need it in the same way as a school district.
Thanks in part to the financial assistance of community members, the district will reopen the building in the fall with local daycare rental space adjacent to the district’s preschool classrooms that will be relocated to the building.
Egli also said in the press release that the levy will help with technology and security.
“Technology is constantly evolving and student needs are changing,” she says. “This levy would enable a number of initiatives supporting student mental health and well-being, providing additional career paths for graduates, and significantly advancing safety measures in our district.”
Details on community information meetings will be released at a later date.