Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Mount Vernon Defines Regionalism

There's another interesting tidbit from the Mount Vernon version of the STAR Bonds legislation — SB 2881 that shows a bit of how the King City defines regionalism.

In Marion, as part of the concerted effort to build support from surrounding communities, the developers tweaked the original legislation and created a School Improvement Fund that would take 15 percent of the property tax increment generated by the multi-million dollar investment and distribute it to area schools.

According to the legislation Franklin-Williamson Regional Superintendent Matt Donkin could a) distribute the funds proportionally to the schools in Franklin and Williamson Counties based on fall enrollment figures, or b) toss out that formula and come up with something else.

Based on statements by superintendents in support of the project outside Franklin and Williamson Counties, they seem to be under the impression that Donkin would do "B". A fair proposal would be to proportionally distribute the funds say to every school district within a 25 or so mile radius of Marion based on student enrollment.

Either way he hadn't decided as of last Thursday, and in any case, he has a couple of years before the investments will generate any increment to distribute.

What's interesting about the bill amended by state Sen. John O. Jones, R-Mount Vernon, is that only schools in Jefferson County would have benefited from a STAR Bonds District.

The regional superintendent in Mount Vernon would not even have, or apparently be able to distribute funds to schools in Hamilton County which is part of his regional office's boundary, let alone in surrounding communities like Centralia whose mayor provided the second and only other vote in support of Mount Vernon Mayor Mary Jane Chesney's motion at the last Southern Illinois Mayors' Association on a resolution opposing the Marion STAR Bonds legislation.

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