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Education Committee talks mixed drink tax, school board expansion

By Kimberly Jordan kjordan@lebanondemocrat.com • Dec 17, 2015 at 6:19 PM

The Wilson County Education Committee held a short meeting Thursday, with just one item on its agenda.

The committee approved a budget amendment regarding replacing a totaled bus and covering start-up expenses for the new Watertown Middle School. 

Committee member Jeff Joines then asked Interim Director of Schools Mary Ann Sparks if the county had received any payments from Mt. Juliet and Lebanon from a tax on mixed drink sales. 

Sparks said she didn’t believe the system had received any back taxes, but it is receiving current payments.

“We’ve got a meeting set up on the April 16 and 17 to go over that with them; we know the amounts now,” said Deputy Director of Finance Mickey Hall. “They’ve started paying since October forward.

“The back part is what we’re working as far as a payment plan.”

Hall and Sparks are meeting with Mt. Juliet on April 16 and Lebanon on April 17. The back taxes total $1.2 million, and payment plans will be discussed at the meetings next week.

Chair Annette Stafford also updated the committee on a bill in the state legislature to add school board members.

“I’m so excited to say this,” she said. “The attorney general’s opinion issued last week says if the public approves the increase in the number of school board members in a referendum in August, the county commission can appoint the members until the next general election.”

“First of all you’ve got to have the private act passed, then you’ve got to have the referendum and the people have got to approve; then your reapportionment committee has to meet to draw out seven equal school zones,” county attorney Mike Jennings said. “Then you’ve got to set up the elections staggered, so that four run at one time and three at another.”

Should the referendum pass and the process of reapportionment be completed, the appointed school board members would serve until the 2016 election.

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