Coles County voters approved a 1 percent sales tax to fund school facilities Tuesday.
The proposal passed with 11,564 votes (54 percent) in favor and 9,816 votes (45.9 percent) against.
Proponents of the tax said the funds are needed to cover costs of aging schools and deferred maintenance: leaking roofs, outdated electrical circuits, failing heating and cooling systems. They estimate the tax will raise about $5 million each year for schools in the county.
Coles County Citizens for Progress, a group that opposed the measure responded to the vote with disappointment and pointed to what they call “exaggerations and half-truths” by proponents of the tax.
“Hopefully, Coles County voters and taxpayers will wake up to CCPC’s message when the nearly predictable financial crisis comes for our three school districts,” they wrote in a statement. “The fallout from the serious blow to our business/agriculture will be felt community-wide.”