Virginia Bradshaw – Countywide & Sun – “A decade from now, we’ll be the shining example of what people can do when they put their minds to it.”

That’s how District Attorney Richard Smotherman put the outlook for Pottawatomie County’s 14 schools and family justice center if voters approve the 0.495 percent (not quite one-half penny) county sales tax proposal next Tuesday.

He foresees such amenities as well maintained facilities, safe bus transportation and up to the minute computers luring the best teachers who in turn could help kids reach their best outcomes for happy, successful lives.

“I think its passage will make a tremendous difference for each of our schools in the county,” Tecumseh Public Schools Supt. Tom Wilsie said Monday.

Wilsie opened the discussion about increasing the county sales tax to help Pottawatomie County schools earlier this year after “looking at all the large needs that all our school districts have and the budget cuts we’ve had.” Then he thought about Oklahoma City’s highly successful Maps for Kids program and what other state cities have done.

Pottawatomie County commissioners bought his idea at their Aug. 31 meeting and set the upcoming Nov. 10 one-question election.

Dale Supt. Charlie Dickinson worked closely with Wilsie on the sales tax plan. “It’s about our kids. They need facilities. We can help them,” he said.

“We’ve been out talking to individuals and groups in the past month and are having a very positive response,” Wilsie said. “We think our patrons are receptive to the idea. This money stays local; it doesn’t go to the state to be divided out. It will be locally collected and locally distributed in the county. We’re glad of that, as well.”

Passage of the sales tax measure would provide 0.45 percent of its proceeds annually to the 14 school districts and .005 percent, about $175,000 per year, for Smotherman’s dream: a One Safe Place family justice center where child abuse, child sexual abuse, domestic violence and sexual assault victims could receive, in one location, all services they need for moving on to productive, better lives.

To view original article click here: Sales Taxes for Schools?