Pickens Co. Supt. says one cent sales tax is critical to system' - WSFA.com: News Weather and Sports for Montgomery, AL.

Pickens Co. Supt. says one cent sales tax is critical to system's future

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Source: Josh Gauntt/WBRC Source: Josh Gauntt/WBRC
PICKENS COUNTY, AL (WBRC) -

Pickens County Schools Superintendent Jamie Chapman isn't holding back any punches on the state of his school system.

"We're basically broke," Chapman said. "We're tapped out on state and federal funding."

That's why Chapman says the June 3 primary is so important. He is asking voters to pass a one-cent sales tax for education. If passed, the additional penny would generate about $900,000 a year for 30 years. That money would be split among capital improvements like adding new buses.

"We got to run those buses. And their getting older," Chapman said. "We haven't bought buses since 2008."

The sales tax would also go to technology improvements and hiring additional teachers and staff. Some of the money will be used to get the school system up to its one-month operating reserve required by the state. Right now, the system is over $400,000 in the hole when it comes to that.

Chapman says he's relying on voters to say "yes" and support the schools.

"We basically need this thing for survival," Chapman said. "It's all about the kids. It's not about I or me. It's about us, we and them. Us being the citizens. We being the voters, and them being our students today and the future."

Chapman tells FOX6 News, he doesn't like to think about this but if voters don't pass the sales tax then tough decisions will have to be made which may include school closures, school consolidations, and possibly layoffs.

The majority of voters FOX6 News spoke with Thursday are in favor of the sales tax. We did speak to a woman who says she's not voting for it because she doesn't have any kids in the school system.

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