Pike Road school superintendent discusses proposed property tax increase
PIKE ROAD, Ala. (WSFA) - Voters in Pike Road will hit the polls for a special election on Oct. 5 that could result in an increase in property taxes.
Pike Road schools are asking residents to vote in favor of a 19 mill property tax increase, which would finance bonds that would provide about $50 million to build a brand new high school.
“No money can be spent for anything other our capital needs,” said Pike Road Schools Superintendent Chuck Ledbetter.
The school system already got the approval from the town, county, lawmakers and the governor to hold the 25-point five millage tax increase vote.
Pike Road Schools currently gets 16 of the town’s 49 mills in taxes and 10 mills from the state.
The proposal is asking for an additional 19 mills on top of the 26 mills Pike Road Schools currently collects, bringing the total millage to 45.
Ledbetter says the school system is growing, and they are in need of more classroom space for their students.
“We have grown very fast over the last six years and we’ve more than doubled in size. We are the fastest growing school system in the state, and so we’re planning for new classroom space, and we’ll be continuing to use everything that we currently have,” Ledbetter said.
The school system has had to become creative this year with finding more space for their students at the current Georgia Washington campus.
The central office used to be located inside Pike Road High School, but Ledbetter said they are now leasing office space from Saint James Missionary Baptist Church so they can use those rooms for students.
“We moved our central office out of the Georgia Washington campus to give up those classrooms that we were using for central office because we need them for students,” Ledbetter said.
But despite the move, the district was still in need of more classroom space, which is why they also purchased eight new portable classroom units for the current high school.
“The process, should we get this referendum passed, will be about a four year process to get a new high school built, so we know we got to have the space, and we know we are continuing to grow, and so we want to make sure we prepare to meet that need as we go forward,” Ledbetter said.
If the 30-yearlong tax increase is approved by voters, this would mean an additional $15.83 per month in property taxes for a home with an assessed value of $100,000, but more for homes valued higher.
“We appreciate the fact that people in Pike Road care about education. So many have moved here because they care about education, and we are looking for their continued support as we continue to grow and become what we want to be,” Ledbetter said.
Should the property tax be approved by voters, the tax increase would go into affect beginning Oct. 1, 2022. Tax collections would begin Oct. 1, 2023.
The school system hopes for the new high school to be built in four years and to break ground on the new facility in two years. Where the new school will be built has not been decided.
The new high school would be for grades nine through 12. The current Georgia Washington campus would hold grades six through eight.
On Oct. 5, Pike Road Town Hall will serve as the only polling location for Pike Road residents to cast their ballots.
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