MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - For the first time in year, the Montgomery school system has its finances in order and now they are focused on ending state intervention and gaining public trust in hopes for a property tax increase.
The school system’s chief financial officer says they are very happy with where MPS is heading.
“We’re very, very happy to say that our district has come a long, long way,” said Arthur Watts.
The Montgomery school system is trying to turn a new financial leaf by being accountable and transparent. Recently, it revealed that it uncovered the misuse of more than $700,000 by some school administrators.
Watts says this is a new day.
“While its unfortunate that we’re dealing with this, we want the public to know we’re going to take care of your monies, and if there are certain people who choose to do things that are unethical then we will bring those things to a head,” he said. “We are working with the ethics commission and law enforcement when necessary.”
He points out new financial processes and procedures that are working and that will hold administrators accountable.
For instance, at one point all 52 schools in the system would deposit their funds in different banks. That process is now being consolidated, and instead of parents paying for student activities through a school, they can now pay online.
“So there are several things we’re putting in place to pretty much safeguard so for convenience situation for our parents and students,” said Watts.
MPS wants to gain the trust of parents. The school system is hoping voters will approve a property tax increase that will bring additional revenue for new learning programs and facilities.
Right now, MPS has more than $250 million in upgrades, some that haven’t been addressed in 10 to 15 years.
Montgomery County residents will get a chance to vote on that property tax on Nov. 3.