Pike Road votes to create own school system

PIKE ROAD, AL (WSFA) - Voting in Pike Road's School Tax Referendum has ended and the people have decided to move ahead with a tax that will create a new school system.

Supporters of the effort screamed, cried and hugged each other as the results were announced at the Pike Road Town Hall.

"The result of today's voting allows the people of Pike Road to move forward with the school plans that they have worked to develop for the last six years," said Mayor Gordon Stone. "It says that the people of the Town of Pike Road share the vision of a community school known for excellent, innovative teaching, discipline in the classroom and local control over education decisions," he added.

The 16 mil increase means a homeowner would pay an additional $160 in property taxes on a home worth $100,000.  That would increase to an additional $320 on a home worth $200,000.

People on both sides of the issue worked hard to get their messages across to voters.  Those efforts seemed to have made an impact on turnout.

The vote was 55% to 45% in favor of the referendum. There were 1,855 votes cast and an additional 22 provisional ballots. There was a 49% voter turnout.

"I knew going in. I grew up in Virginia, where the property taxes are very high, but the quality of education is also very high. I believe you get what you pay for," said Kathy Cooper.

"I guess I was a little on the fence, prior to finding out more about it. but once I found out more about it," one voter said.  "I decided yeah, I would go ahead, because it would help the property value and it will help the kids, but mostly it's for the kids."

Mayor Stone said construction of the school is planned to begin in 2014. He says doors to the K-8 facility will open by the fall of 2015.  The school would then add grades each year, until it is a full K-12 school.   Before any bricks are laid, a school board has to be put in place.

"I am so excited for the volunteers who have led this effort, and I am thankful for their commitment to our children's future," Stone said.

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