Butler schools awarded portion of SSUT

Published 11:14 am Thursday, April 20, 2023

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A collaboration more than a year in the making has finally come to fruition for Butler County Schools.

According to Butler County Schools Superintendent Joseph Eiland, the commission has voted to grant 25% of Sellers Simplified Use Tax (SSUT) receipts to the local school district.

“I am excited to say that our commission did one of the biggest things that’s ever happened in this county in regards to government and school systems working together,” Eiland told local Q94 radio Friday. “They unanimously approved that 25% of the internet use sales tax will go to the school system.”

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Eiland said the collaboration between the schools and the County Commission began with a conversation he had with  Commissioners Joey Peavey and Darrell Sanders.

“Chairman Peavey talked with me and we had that first collaboration between the commission and the school system when we put resource officers in place,” Eiland said. 

The decision followed a string of court cases, Eiland explained, during which school systems around the state sued county commissions and won their cases to gain all proceeds from the tax. According to Eiland, the system had no intention of creating the kind of division such cases can create, but was satisfied to ask for what seemed a more reasonable request.

“There are situations where a school system prevailed in the suit and they literally took the whole ball of wax,’ Eiland said. “I would never try to create that kind of division. It was a simple ask, ‘Hey will you guys consider it?’ and they did.”

Eiland said the agreement means schools will receive a portion of the SSUT receipts rather than a lump sum. This means, he explained, the funding is more sustainable for future initiatives.

“I said, ‘Thank you for even thinking about this,’” Eiland said. “If [revenue] took a nosedive and we went into a recession, I get less because they get less. Already the commission has done so much. They do things for our schools and for our venues.”

Revenue for the schools should amount to around $120,000 Eiland said. And with the possibility of funding losses, the monies will help bolster school system budgets.

“You can see the raiding that’s going on with the Education Trust Fund right now,” Eiland said. “They are literally raising it to build things. There’s a possibility that we lose huge funding for school safety because of the raiding. We don’t need that to happen, especially in light of what is going on across our county. This [sales tax money] is going to be huge because what if we don’t get that line item for safety.

“We need more resource officers. We need more security at our front doors, in our schools and around our buildings. So, it’s just huge.”