Nickel tax is voted down

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Around 25 Christian County Public Schools staff members gather in the district's front office to await the results of the nickel tax vote. The tax was voted down by 4,650 votes.

The Christian County Public Schools proposed nickel tax has been voted down by the citizens of Christian County. The vote wasn’t close.

According to the unofficial election results, 9,301 residents voted against the tax Tuesday and 4,651 voted for it. Of the 41 voting precincts in Christian County, not one voted in favor of the tax.

“Obviously, we are disappointed the vote did not go our way, but we certainly respect the process,” said Superintendent Mary Ann Gemmill in a statement. “I want to thank the board for their vision and patience. I especially want to thank our committee of private citizens, Chairman Lee White and the ever resilient Angie Major for conducting a campaign of which we can be proud.”

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Gemmill added that although losing the vote is a setback to CCPS’ plans, the district’s mission remains the same.

“We will wake up tomorrow and go to work, teaching our children, loving our children and keeping them safe,” she said.

In late February, the Christian County Board of Education unanimously approved the nickel tax to help raise the district’s bonding potential and build new academic buildings for the two area high schools.

The $.05 cent tax on every $100 of real and tangible property was a “recallable” tax, per state law. In order for the tax to be recalled, 10% of Christian County residents who voted in the last presidential election needed to sign an official petition.

If the petition received at least 2,226 signatures of verified residents, the tax would be put up to a vote.

In March, the Citizens Right to Vote on Tax Increases began taking signatures for the petition to recall the tax. In May, the Christian County Clerk’s Office verified that the petition had received enough signatures to put the tax up for a vote.

The school board had the choice to hold a special election, but decided to put the tax on the gubernatorial ballot. Instead of paying for a special election, board members stated at that time that they would rather use the money for a pro-nickel campaign and let due process have its way.

That due process led to a large defeat.

“In response to tonight’s outcome, we are pleased the voting majority of Christian County had an opportunity to make their voices heard,” the Citizens Right to Vote on Tax Increases said in a statement. “It is not often we are able to participate in this process, but if anything, it has engaged our community to become more involved and understanding of fiscal decisions, their impacts and exactly where many of our local leaders stand.”

Reach Jon Russelburg at 270-887-3241 or jrusselburg@kentuckynewera.com.

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