After Champaign County voters approved an additional one percent sales tax in 2009, five of the county’s school districts began preparing for a bond issue to fund much needed facility improvements. Through the Champaign County Regional Office of Education, school districts in Champaign, Urbana, Rantoul and Fisher, Illinois retained PGAV to conduct a sales tax revenue study, including 30-year revenue projections.
In Illinois, voters may consider by referendum up to a one percent County School Facility Occupation (“CSFO”) Tax to fund improvements to school facilities. This additional sales tax excludes titled vehicles and other specified merchandise such as pharmaceuticals and groceries. Though collected countywide, the revenue is divided among school districts by enrollment. Issuing bonds secured by the revenue allows districts to spread the cost of major facility projects over an extended period.
PGAV conducted a two-pronged analysis for the school districts. First a historical analysis of sales tax revenue was conducted to establish a historical trend line. PGAV then used a series of assumptions about the county’s employment base, demographic profile, and regional consumer expenditure patterns to establish short and longer-term retail sales growth assumptions. Historical enrollment trends and new housing development patterns provided a basis for projecting the future allocation of sales tax revenue among the participating school districts.
With a sound basis for future projections, these school districts can issue bonds to begin work on facilities that will serve students and benefit the community for decades.