Montgomery school board member makes passionate plea for increased funding

Updated: Mar. 11, 2020 at 8:59 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Montgomery County school board member Jannah Bailey made a passionate plea for increased funding for the school system.

The Montgomery County Board of Education voted Tuesday night to hire lobbyists in hopes of moving forward with an election to raise property taxes. When that proposal was met with opposition during discussion, Bailey, who represents District 5 in east Montgomery, spoke up.

“I wasn’t going to say anything tonight, but I am,” she said. “First of all, I am very sad and angry that we’re even having to talk about lobbyists, because every single person that lives in Montgomery should be talking about this and talking about these kids.”

Bailey said growing up, school was her safe place, and she knows the same is true for many students in Montgomery County. Bailey, who works for Child Protect, said on Tuesday she received calls about two children in the county who were victims of sexual abuse. The children’s grades had been slipping and they’d had behavioral issues.

Bailey said MPS doesn’t have the councilors and teachers in place who know how to respond to situations like that.

“Because we don’t have the funding for that,” she said. “Because the black and brown children are not important to people that look like me.”

Bailey said it is a race issue that is preventing the school board from getting the funding it needs. She said hiring a lobbyist to help in the fight for funding is what the board needs to do.

“Because people that look like me are not stepping up,” she said. “It’s not about money. We all know that.”

Bailey said it is up to everyone in Montgomery County to help the children of the community, who witness “horrific things and traumatic events every single day.” The tax increase would have to be approved by lawmakers before going on a ballot for residents to vote on.

“So vote how you want to,” she said, “but I’m voting for kids.”

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