$250M in deferred projects top Montgomery Public Schools’ wish list of updates

Published: Sep. 2, 2020 at 10:53 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Walk into any Montgomery Public School and you can point out what needs to be updated or fixed.

MPS has more than $250 million in deferred maintenance projects across its 51 schools.

Some of those needs include new floors, new roofs, new windows, and currently, 10 schools do not have central heating and air conditioning.

A property tax increase for MPS could pay for the projects along with a list of other wants and needs.

“Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could provide arts in all of our elementary schools? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could provide foreign languages, various foreign languages whether its mandarin Chinese at all of our high schools and middle,” said MPS Chief Financial Officer Arthur Watts.

For now, it’s just an education wish list of programs Montgomery schools would provide if they had the money. Watts says a property tax for MPS would be a game changer.

“Just to be able to provide the opportunity to be exposed to several different things that we think they should be exposed too,” Watts said.

MPS is counting on Montgomery County residents to approve a property tax increase that would bring in an additional $33 million a year for Montgomery County schools. Money school officials say is desperately needed.

Despite MPS being larger than school systems like Birmingham and Huntsville. Montgomery collects less in property tax funding.

“Huntsville City Schools have about 23,000 students, again, MPS public schools have about 28,000 to 29,000 students.  Huntsville City Schools’ total local revenues, and this includes sales tax as well, total local revenues are over $107 million,” Watts said.

A property tax increase will put MPS closer to what other schools collect, and Watts says, closer to giving Montgomery students what they deserve.

A property tax increase would mean about an additional $12.45 per month for Montgomery county residents.

Voters can expect to see the issue on the November ballot. If it’s approved, MPS would start collecting the additional revenue in 2022.

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