Half-cent sales tax comes in clutch during budget cuts

By Adam Ewing | shawneestandard@gmail.com

With budget cuts in districts all over Oklahoma, Pottawatomie County area schools have a fallback plan.

A resolution passed on Aug. 31, 2015 and went into effect July 1, 2016, allowing schools a portion of a half-penny sales tax to help pay various bills.

The .495 cents us divided between each of the 14 public school districts in Pottawatomie County based upon annual accounting of the average daily attendance of students within each district. The funds are to be utilized towards building, transportation, safety and technology needs. Sales tax revenues can not be utilized to pay salaries.

The remaining .005 cents was utilized for the construction, acquisition, maintenance and operation of the One Safe Place Family Justice Center in Pottawatomie County.

At last week’s county commission meeting, four area schools were approved to utilize $140,618.69 from their available funds.

Pleasant Grove received $61,755.25 to help pay construction costs for their safe room project.

Shawnee Public Schools purchased a $55,700 14-passenger activity bus which will receive $7,066 in exterior upgrades.

At the commissioner’s meeting, McLoud Superintendent Steve Stanley referenced budget cuts was solely behind McLoud Public Schools requested for funds. The district was approved for up to $16,094.44 per month to pay diesel and district-wide copier rental and maintenance bills. That request is through July 1, 2021.

Any requests for money must be presented to the Pottawatomie County Board of County Commissioners for approval at their weekly meeting.

Here’s what each school has in their account as of 9/30/20:

Asher Public Schools: $183,129.13

Bethel Public Schools: $545,854.17

Dale Public Schools: $101,953.28

Earlsboro Public Schools: $134,587.71

Grove School: $316,595.49

Macomb Public Schools: $80,439.87

Maud Public Schools: $116,988.54

McLoud Public Schools: $269424.96

North Rock Creek Public Schools: $61,582.98

Pleasant Grove School: $71,313.97

Shawnee Public Schools: $639,239.32

South Rock Creek: $356,288.10

Tecumseh Public Schools: $492,941.31

Wanette Public Schools: $24,237.66