Fowler comments on property, Limestone taxes
MADISON – From initial reports, the student population of Madison City Schools (MCS) has grown to 10,200 as the new school year starts — 300 more than one year ago. Superintendent Dr. Dee Fowler released a statement on Aug. 15 about district funding district.
“Growth is good, and we accept the challenges associated with growth,” Fowler said. “Our first challenge is funding additional teachers for 300 new students. We are scrambling to identify local dollars, not state dollars, to employ the amount of teachers needed for the additional students.”
“We have made cuts necessary to present a balanced budget for the board’s consideration,” Fowler said.
Approximately 2,000 students live within Madison in Limestone County. “We will receive no countywide property tax, sales tax or TVA in-lieu-of tax dollars to support their education … a loss of more than 1.7 million dollars,” Fowler said. (For details, visit madisoncity.k12.al.us and click “District News” on the right of the window.)
Losing this revenue forced MCS leaders to cut “every aspect of the district’s operations. We cut technology, student services, special education, elementary instruction, secondary instruction, finance, personnel, maintenance, transportation, Board of Education, Superintendent and Assistant Superintendent funds, extracurricular coaching and sponsor incentives and central office staff,” Fowler said.
People constantly ask Fowler, “Where are we with the Limestone funding issue?” “The judge has ordered mediation. At this time, no date has been set for the mediation,” Fowler said. “We are hoping it will occur before the end of the month (August).”
This mediation only concerns the property tax issue of approximately $500,000. Fowler hopes to add the sales tax question to mediation and for the Alabama legislature to “address TVA in-lieu-of tax in the special session or the spring session.”
“Sen. Bill Holtzclaw is working that issue very hard for us,” Fowler said.
“The loss of revenue represents about two percent of our budget. In a budget where most of the money is earmarked by the state and 80 percent is dedicated to personnel cost, this two percent loss greatly reduces our ability to provide many programs that make Madison unique,” Fowler said.
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