Montgomery Public School Board needs a financial break

One proposal.... a tax increase

Montgomery Public School Board needs a financial break

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - The Montgomery Public School Board met Tuesday for the first time since the state stepped in and approved some job cuts. Despite the savings, it’s still not enough.

Two weeks ago the state intervened and approved actions to reduce the workforce due to the Montgomery Public Schools’ budget.

The board heard from Alan Zeigler, the tax attorney, they have hired to consult them on the steps needed to move forward with a possible request of the voters to increase the property tax in Montgomery County to better fund the school system.

If an ad valorem tax increase was on the ballot Tuesday for Montgomery County, Linnea Conely already knows how she would vote.

"I would vote, ‘Yes,’” said Conely, an MPS parent.

Conely says there is good reason for her decision.

"I know we desperately need it. I have seen the conditions of their schools. The teachers of my students are being let go. This is personal for me,” said Conely.

But she understands she may be part of a small group.

"I think the majority of people in Montgomery would vote, ‘No,’” said Conely.

While Conely doesn’t doubt people in Montgomery County are passionate about quality education, she believes the problems lie deeper.

“They don’t trust Montgomery public school system,” said Conely. “Unless the school works towards building that trust again with the community I think the tax is doomed to fail.”

”We hope that the public will see these are their schools,” said MPS Superintendent Dr. Ann Roy Moore.

Moore is being intentional in working to change that mindset.

"We want to show the public that we are as frugal as we can be, but we are doing the best we can with what we have,” said Moore.

Alan Zeigler address the board for the first time on Tuesday. Zeigler and his firm was hired to consult with MPS on a process to potentially move forward in requesting a vote for increasing the ad valorem tax.

“Mr. Zeigler will help us work through the legal issues of the law and what steps we would need to take,” said Moore.

Moore continues to reiterate a need for more revenue. Currently MPS is at 10 mills, the minimum required by the state. She says this provides them with less tax revenue than any other of the major school systems.

"We don’t have enough money to do to improve our school system,” said Moore.

Dr. Moore says don’t expect this process to happen overnight. They want to make sure they do it the right way.

It could take a least a year before it would ever be placed on a ballot. She says that is due in part to the fact that part of the district is in the city and part is in the county and those two ad valorem taxes are different, so it may take a different mechanism to get those changed.

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