New tax to help schools proposed in Bullock County

Proposed tax for school improvements in Bullock County

UNION SPRINGS, Ala. (WSFA) - Bullock County school leaders hope their dream will come true on March 3, 2020, with the passage of a new tax for schools.

The driving force behind it all is the apparent need for more money to make massive repairs to current schools and, maybe, build a new one down the road. The proposed tax is a three mill referendum for voters to consider.

“On the average home value of $50,000, the three mil would be an extra $15 per year," said Bullock County School Superintendent Dr. Christopher Blair.

The tax increase would amount to about $15 extra dollars per year on a home valued at $50,000.
The tax increase would amount to about $15 extra dollars per year on a home valued at $50,000. (Source: WSFA 12 News)

Add it up and we’re talking about an additional $250,000 per year for the school district.

“We either have flooring issues or foundation issues. Much of Bullock County High School was built in the 1950s," said Dr. Blair.

Dr. Blair says right now all Bullock County schools, including the career technical center, have well over $1 million in needed repairs.

The Bullock County School System says there are more than $1 million in needed repairs at its facilities
The Bullock County School System says there are more than $1 million in needed repairs at its facilities (Source: WSFA 12 News)

Some folks in town had not heard about the tax idea. Those who did couldn’t understand why they should say ‘yes’ considering two of the county schools made the most recent list of failing schools, according to the Alabama Department of Education.

“That is true. Now those two schools that are on the failing list are also what we would categorize what we would successful schools. The high school is a 'C' school. You have the Alabama Accountability Act that says you’re in the bottom 6 percent in all school districts across the state regardless of the funding, the building you put them in and everything else, so we measure up against everyone," said Dr. Blair.

“It is distracting," said Bullock County High School student Isaiah Jordan. “Like, we’re trying to learn something, and they’re working on the tile above us.”

If it passes, some of the money would be set aside to help reduce school district debt and build two new schools.

If the tax increase passes, some of the money would be set aside to help reduce school district debt and build two new schools.
If the tax increase passes, some of the money would be set aside to help reduce school district debt and build two new schools. (Source: WSFA 12 News)

One other school of thought is to simply build one schoolhouse with grades 5 through 12.

“We would want to look at our new construction at least 12 years down the road," Blair said.

It’s a lot to think about between now and then, with four months to decide.

The school district has a student population of around 1,450 and a yearly budget of $19 million.

Copyright 2019 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.