Coosa Co. school system could be broke by August

Posted by: Melissa McKinney - bio | email

ROCKFORD, AL (WSFA) -  "I love it really, but they're having a hard time with the budget right now," says Central High School Junior, Katelynn East.

She worries about her school's future.

"I don't know what's going to happen to the school, like whether they'll split us all up and you won't get to see your friends.  You don't know what's going to happen," says East.

Coosa County Schools' Superintendent Dennis Sanford says two cycles of proration have hit the system hard.

He says come July they'll be more than $1-million dollars in the hole with no relief in sight.

"We'll probably get through July and then the months after that, we're not going to make it."

It prompted an emergency school board work session that was really a brain storming.

The school board came up with three ideas to raise money for use as collateral towards a $1-million dollar loan.

1. Adding a 1-cent county-wide sales tax earmarked for school operations.

2. Using any excess money from a current 1-cent sales tax that's being used to pay for a new gym and cafeteria at Coosa County's Central Middle School and Central Elementary School.

3. An additional 5-mil property tax and something administrators say could be the long-term solution.

Of course, nothing is set in stone until the county commission approves one or more of the options or puts them up for a vote in July.

And right now, it's hard to tell how supportive residents would be for more taxes.

"I don't personally know that I would miss the 1-cent, but I'm sure there are people in the community that it would have an effect on," says Coosa County resident, Natalie Morton.

"You would have people to do it. There would people that would care enough to get around and make a change and do it," adds East.

Coosa County school leaders say they've been working to come up with a financial solution since March.

They even went to a local bank, but were denied a loan because it was too big.

Commissioners have the authority to raise a sales tax at any time. But, the superintendent says he expects them to get public input before they do that.

The commission meets June 8th.

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