Parents voice support for Madison County school tax renewals

Parents voice support for Madison County school tax renewals
(Source: WAFF 48 News)
(Source: WAFF 48 News)
(Source: WAFF 48 News)
(Source: WAFF 48 News)

HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - Madison County parents say they're behind the school tax renewals on the ballot during Tuesday's special election.

Residents say they want to keep schools operating at high levels in order for their children to continue to have a quality education.

Ann Kvach has been busy getting the word out to other Madison County voters about the school tax renewals. As president of the Huntsville Council of PTAs, she knows what's at stake.

"They are not new taxes. They're not increases. They're renewals of taxes that have to be renewed every 30 years. They're property taxes that go into our schools. And what this means for our three districts is $58 million per year. Here in Huntsville, it's $37 million," she said.

She's been encouraging parents to vote in support of the continued taxation.

"This is a way to really advocate for our kids and it's all going into our local funding, which are a lot of the things that make school more special and more fun. It's all of the those extra things that kids always talk about and enjoy at school, that's what we're talking about here," she said.

Funding for local schools comes from property taxes and the state matching those dollars. The funding streams must be renewed every thirty years.

The renewals are solely for school funding and are distributed among the three local school systems - Huntsville, Madison and Madison County.

Local superintendents and education advocates have been hosting different events and press conferences in recent weeks to stress that it is the renewal of the current tax at the same rate to fund schools.

Kvach has two children in Huntsville City Schools and they enjoy taking part in programs that could be impacted if the renewals don't pass, programs like career academies, the arts, robotics, athletics, pre-K and advanced placement courses. Personnel would also be affected.

"If our schools do not receive a renewal of this funding, they're going to be looking at severe cuts. For Huntsville, what that would look like is 500 teachers. While they wouldn't necessarily go right in and cut 500 teachers, it would be looking at programs. So if something like pre-K had to be eliminated, that would be teachers and aides losing the jobs there," she stated.

She pointed out that at other schools, some parents have expressed concerns about behavior and discipline.

"At other schools, some parents have expressed concerns about behavior and discipline. Well, a lot of the extra adults who are in those schools, the interventionists and aides, those are funded out of local dollars so we would be removing more of those adults that are supporting our students from the schools," Kvach added.

So what does it break down to for residents? For every hundred thousand dollars value for your home, it's $160.

"We're already paying it. It's not something new we're going to feel in our pocketbook. It's something that's continuing to support our schools," Kvach explained. "It's not just the parents that need to vote. We need everyone in the community to get out and support our schools. When we have great schools, it helps make a great community and it attracts more people, more businesses to come be a part of this great place in Huntsville and Madison County."

Copyright 2017 WAFF. All rights reserved.