Butler County superintendent praises vote

Posted by Cody Holyoke - bio | email

GREENVILLE, AL (WSFA) - School leaders in Butler County are celebrating a win for education.

Last week, voters approved the renewal of a property tax set to give money to the school system.  Now, administrators are looking toward the future.

On the job a bit more than a month, Butler County superintendent Darren Douthitt had his work cut out for him--dealing with proration and the threat of losing funding that had been around for generations.

"People kind of turn their backs on tax, so mainly, it was about communicating with everybody we could communicate with that it was not a new tax," Douthitt explained.

In 1957, residents voted to add a property tax to provide money for the county's school system.  Up for renewal, the tax met some trouble.

A turbulent economy made some voters apprehensive.

"You go to the store, you spend $10, you can toss 10% to spend that $10," said one man.

Other voters saw fit to keep the funds in place.

"I had to go to school. Everybody else has to go to school, so we've got to have some money," said Robert Bennett of Greenville.

The renewal for the 2 mill tax passed with 76% of the vote, adding to the ten mills required by law.

The total tax accounts for about $15 million.  Administrators say that makes up for about half of the system's budget.

"Without this money, we would have been truly struggling. And I'm very thankful to the voters. Very thankful," Douthitt said.

Now that the vote is a thing of the past, the superintendent can concentrate on other matters facing the school system.

"[We're looking at] the things that have to be done to balance our budget and make sure we're starting off next year in a situation that we can maintain," Douthitt explained.

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