For the last decade, Bloomington has been growing rapidly. So rapidly, that the financial website NerdWallet ranked Bloomington as the 11th fastest growing city in the country. With this type of growth comes the need for accommodations; ones that support an ever changing population. One of these necessities is the improvement of the schools in McLean County.
As more families migrate to Bloomington and the surrounding areas, a demand for larger and better-equipped schools becomes increasingly more important. Not all schools in McLean County are as furbished as would be ideal, and steps need to be taken in order to address these concerns.
In order to answer to the growth, a proposal has been offered that would raise the sales tax of McLean County by 1 percent. The revenue gained by this tax increase could only be used to improve schools through repairs and refurbishing, or to build new schools entirely.
While a sales tax such as this may not be popular with everyone, especially Illinois State students who do not directly benefit from it, this Editorial Board feels strongly that the sales tax is necessary and would benefit the community greatly.
If passed, the sales tax would potentially generate more than $16 million for schools in McLean County. This revenue would be divided amongst schools, with the amounts given dependent on the amount of students attending each school. As a result, Unit 5 schools would receive the most funding since they have the greatest student population.
Many schools in McLean County are simply not equipped to handle the amount of students that may attend in the upcoming years. Given how the student population in many schools has risen, schools may soon be unable to support as many children as they need to. Additions need to be made to existing schools and entirely new schools may need to be constructed. Additional revenue is needed in order to accomplish this.
There are also numerous schools that are in need of necessary repairs, such as roof, heating, cooling and lighting replacements. No one should expect children to be able to learn in an environment that has subpar comfort systems. Just like a majority of ISU buildings are equipped with reliable heating and cooling systems, so should the schools of McLean County.
McLean County would not alone be paying an increased sales tax. According to the Pantagraph, 18 out of Illinois’ 102 counties have all adopted the increased sales tax. This has turned out to be a huge success, as seen in Logan County. Logan County was able to use the tax dollars to renovate school buildings, including fire alarm systems and lighting.
In addition, the county was able to address its school’s technological needs with system upgrades. Technology is becoming increasingly important in the classroom, and many schools are behind when it comes to providing their students with it.
Bloomington-Normal, as well as the entire McLean County, has been great to ISU students. Students should embrace the opportunity to give back to communities who have been so receptive to them.
The children of McLean County need the increase in revenue in order to have better schools. The people of McLean County, as well as ISU students, need to step up and support the sales tax for better schools.