Retired teachers pen letter supporting ‘nickel tax’

Posted February 20, 2019 at 9:24 am

The push for the Clinton County Board of Education to adopt a “nickel tax” to help fund construction of a new high school picked up some steam last week when the Clinton County Retired Teachers Association sent a letter to the superintendent in support of such a tax.

The letter, dated February 4 and signed by CCRTA secretary Martina Brown, was asked to be read into the record by board member Gary Norris, a strong advocate of the measure.

The correspondence sent to Superintendent Charlotte Nasief reads:

“As members of the Clinton County Retired Teachers’ Association, we endorse the idea of the Nickel Tax Levy for the purpose of building a new high school should you and the Clinton County Board of Education decide to consider it.

“Given the age and condition of the high school, it is reasonable to conclude that a building project will be considered for the near future. We appreciate the care with which the build(ing) has been maintained but recognize that normal depreciation of a building of that age is inevitable.

“It is our continued interest in students and education in Clinton County that has encouraged us to support the Nickel Tax Levy.

Thank you for taking the time to read this letter and for considering our support of this issue.”

The letter also had a footnote that said there are 125 retired teachers in Clinton County, of which 73 are active due paying members of the local Retired Teachers Association.

Following the meeting, however, it was reportedly decided that any official action would not be made until a new board member for the Speck and Illwill precincts is appointed, so that school board district would have representation in the decision.

The seat is temporarily vacant due to the retirement of former board member Paula Key, but according to Supt. Nasief, a new member should be in place by the board’s next regular meeting in March.

Board member Norris had originally requested and the board had verbally agreed at the meeting to place the item on the agenda for this past Monday night’s regular meeting.

The proposal of the nickel tax, which if imposed, could be matched at some level by state funding and can be used for new facility construction only, has been circulating for the past few years.

It has also been noted that with the current state administration, as well as problems with the pension crisis the state is experiencing, the nickel tax may not be matched by the state in future years.

Norris and Walton “Chip” Haddix, who is possibly the strongest advocate on the nickel tax issue, encouraged the board to take action on the issue and indicated they needed to do so while Superintendent Charlotte Nasief is still serving in that capacity.

Nasief announced prior to the letter being read that she intends to step down as local school superintendent effective June 30 of this year.

All four active board members were present for the approximate 50-minute session, which also saw some discussion on other matters, including setting dates for the board to visit schools and other facilities in March.

They also discussed the feasibility of using the nickel tax, if one is adopted, to add on to the current Area Technology facility, or College and Career Center.

Such a move would allow high school students who attend the ATC to basically be in one building and keep from having to be bused from one facility to another for ATC classes.

The superintendent also conducted a brief work session on topics of finance, facilities, staffing policy and contracts.