Butler County residents face major decision on proposed property tax hike for public schools

Vote on Butler County Tax Reform approaches

BUTLER COUNTY, AL (WSFA) - Butler County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. John Strycker went door-to-door Wednesday promoting the property tax increase worth 6 mills.

“We rank 132nd out of 137 schools in local funding," Strycker shared with one homeowner.

The superintendent said the school district needs the additional revenue to tackle a $31 million debt he inherited when he came on board more than a year ago and that’s not all.

“We also want to put money into our curriculum and so on," he said.

According to school leaders, a 6 mill property tax increase would mean an extra $3.75 per month on a home valued at $75,000. The proposed millage increase would bring in an extra $1.4 million a year for the school district. The Butler County school district already receives around $2.7 million a year in ad valorem taxes.

“I just want people to know that we have very talented young people and we need to fund them," said Strycker.

“I am very much against this," said Greenville Mayor Dexter McClendon.

McClendon agrees with Strycker that the school district needs more money, but so does everyone else he said. The mayor plans to vote ‘no’ primarily because of the way the proposal was handled.

“I would have been open to figure out how to give them more money but not this way...just shove it down our throats," said the mayor.

Strycker tells WSFA 12 News he chose not to meet one-on-one with other officials, including the mayor, because he saw this strictly as a school-related issue. Strycker said he meant no disrespect to anyone.

If the tax passes?

“We will look at a city school district because they’re taxing Greenville," said McClendon.

And if it fails?

“It’s our only option other than significant cuts," said Strycker.

There is a lot to think about and plenty of time to think about it. The election is set for Tuesday, Jan. 29.

The Butler County Commission paid for the election costs which was around $60,000.

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