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Invest in 186 Wants Property Tax to Help Pay for Springfield Schools

Some citizens of Springfield are calling for a tax to help bring money to the school district.

Invest in 186 is a grassroots campaign made up of parents and members of the community looking to raise money for District 186. School Board President Chuck Flamini respects the jobs they’re doing but he doesn’t appear to be too optimistic.

“It will be very very difficult. Yes, there’s much to be done in this district…and we’ll do it…I’ve been around a number of brick and mortar-type referendum and I have yet to see one pass.”

The group suggests a property tax in Sangamon County. Their plan is to continue to work towards polling the community, school board and county officials to come up with a specific number. Although their plan has ideas on how much the tax could be specifically, there’s nothing set in stone.

One junior member of Invest in 186 spoke before the board. Charles Eastvold is a third grader at Iles Elementary School.

“I think we should have a property tax referendum because if we can’t pay our teachers or keep schools open, it might interfere with students learning.”

Invest in 186 is looking into a Sangamon County property tax, different from the 2010 sales tax with a similar purpose.

Taxes and money were not the only big discussion on Monday night. The Prairie State Achievement Examination (PSAE) scores are in from the 2012-13 students.

Reading scores were up 0.3% and math scores were up 1.8% at the three high schools in the district. The biggest gains were seen at Springfield High School, which jumped up over 11% in reading. Southeast High School had scores in math that were nearly 9% higher this time.

The trouble news was the reading scores among African Americans in the district. They are still low and did not improve too much.

The PSAE is taken by high school juniors statewide.