MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - The Montgomery County Board of Education met to discuss changes being made to the ad valorem tax increase they proposed at last week’s meeting. It’s a decision that came after the board met with the Montgomery County Commission Tuesday.
The board eventually voted 6 to 1 in favor of the new resolution that would ask for an additional 12 mills, on top of the 10 mills the district already collects. A total of 22 mills would generate around an additional $33 million a year, enough to allow the district to borrow $250 million for public school projects.
“We wanna do better by our children and we owe it to our children to treat them better than we are treating them right now," said MPS Superintendent Dr. Ann Roy Moore. "And so we are gonna ask the public at some point if we can get it on the ballot to go out and show that you really do love and care about your kids.”
“What they intend to do with the additional funds is an ambitious plan. It addresses security, more mental health, more tech classes. I always wondered if 9 mills would be enough to do the kind of things that they intended to do, so I was always a supporter of more," said Montgomery County Commissioner Daniel Harris.
The board also discussed the Montgomery Education Foundation’s plan to delay the conversion of Davis Elementary to a charter school by one year. The foundation is supporting the need for a 12-to-18-month preparation period prior to the school opening. This means the conversion of the school would be in Fall 2021.
The board discussed how to attract, recruit and retain teachers in the Montgomery Public School system. Moore circled back to the proposed ad valorem tax increase when regarding attracting teachers.
“It’s hard to get people to come to certain locations, and so there is a shortage and we are gonna try and do as much as we can to entice people to come here. But we also, I think, as a school district and as a community, we have to show them that we value education. We’re not showing people that we value education when we leave it at 10 mills,” said Moore.
“Ask for what you need, and if you fall short you’ll be close to getting what you need,” said Harris.
The board is also considering implementing an anonymous “exit interview” that would be optional for teachers to fill out after choosing to resign. The data collected from the “exit interview” would help MPS discover a teacher’s exact reason for leaving.
The decision to collect 12 mills must be approved by the county commission before the board of education can hold a public hearing. The board’s next meeting is on Feb. 25.