TCSS meets after school funding tax increase voted down
By WVUA 23 News Student Reporter Karnera Gafford
The Tuscaloosa County School System asked for an 8 mill property tax increase to go toward projects and renovations, but it was voted down by residents in Tuscaloosa county.
The school board tried to educate residents, but voters were against the increase.
“I think one reason it failed was because people misunderstand what our actual funding sources are and how much money we have and how much money we do not have. And while we tried to educate people on that, I think people have a misperception what reality is,” said Keri Johnson, Tuscaloosa County School Superintendent.
With the increase denied, the school board will have to determine which projects will move forward and which projects will be put on the back burner.
“We’ll have to look at areas of high growth and schools aging, but we do not have it in our budget to build a new school right now,” said Johnson. The superintendent says the tax increase was their only option.
“At this time, there’s really not a plan B. We are funded the same way we were prior to February 14, and we are going to continue to provide a quality education to all of our students and our schools. However, we don’t have the additional funding to do the extra things we wanted to do and to provide the extra resources. We will have to be very strategic about any kind of construction and building that we do over the next several years,” said Johnson
If the school board decides to campaign for another tax increase, they would campaign a little differently.
“Maybe just a little more word of mouth, kind of get out there. We did a lot out there this time, but we had too many other entities that were against us,” said Tuscaloosa County School Board member Portia Jones.
Johnson said 90 percent of the budget is earmarked and they are struggling to get things done.