Sunday, October 27, 2013

Education Committee Discusses New School District

Fairhope, Alabama


At its last meeting, the city council voted unanimously to include another $350,000 in the 2014 budget (from city utility funds) to assist the five area Baldwin County Schools ($70,000 per school) -- the same amount as last year.

The proposed disbursement of the funds mostly follows the recommendations of the 5 principals -- and includes:

* Newton School: $8,000 for Science Lab Equipment; $7,400 for Classroom Libraries;
   $26,000 for FM (audio) systems for teachers; $5,000 for Technology supplies.

* Middle School: $25,000 for Professional development; $10,520 for playground equipment (Severely
   challenged students); $10,000 for Physical Education Supplies/Equipment: $5,000 for Art supplies;
   $3,000 for Smart Music: $5,000 for Discover History Curriculum; $1,000 for Peer Helper Training
   (Tv, dvd).

*Intermediate School: $60,000 for HDMI Projectors; $5200 for Apple Tvs; $1,615 for Technology
  essentials (flash drives, cables, etc.).

*High School: $36,000 for Ipad2 software; $20,000 for the International Baccalaureate Program;
  $5,000 for Mathmatica Software; $8,000 for AP materials, Textbooks and Licenses

*Elementary School: $15,500 for Library books, CD's, Dvds; $10,520 for Severely Challenged
  Student's playground equipment; $4,500 for Reading and Math Summer Camp materials; $14,400 for
  In-school tutoring (reading, math); $10,5000 for Art Programs; $12,400 for Music Programs.

Council member Brewer said she hoped each principal could address a future council meeting about their proposals.

Brewer: "Its important the school principals come before the council ... and talk about what they plan to do with the funds this year  ... give an update about last (year)."

(Although the council earmarked $350K for education, it still must approve each individual expenditure.)


Instead of the city council appropriating money from city coffers year after year, the committee discussed asking the city council to support (name a "facilitator") beginning a process that could lead to a voter-referendum to create a special county school tax district.

Committee member Brewer called the city's financial support the past two years a a "bridge" to something better: "The city can not just continue to give money to the schools ... there has got to be a different way to do it ... $350,000 is not a lot ... spread out over five schools ... need more teachers in the classrooms."

Brewer said forming an overlay district has been "discussed for years" and would allow citizens in the school feeder pattern a chance to vote for an additional ad valorem (property) tax.

Brewer: "It allows a community to tax itself ... the county (School Board) would collect and disburse it."

Committee member Bob Riggs pointed out the city has many other competing needs (police, fire, etc) -- and there needed to be a "permanent identifiable source" of supplemental funding for the area's schools -- "if this is what the citizenry wants to do."


Local School Board Representative Bob Callahan conveyed his support for the idea; and went through some of the legal and political technicalities for drawing its boundary lines. (The current "feeder pattern" would be the starting point.)

Callahan said he thought Superintendent Alan Lee also would support "any initiative like this wholeheartedly."

"If the city is interested in this, they will have a willing partner with the School Board."

Callahan added that in his opinion the community would "embrace it."


Anonymous said...

The return of the elitist thugs. We're watching you Ms. Brewer and company.

Anonymous said...

Oh well we will get the Kant/fiddler flower clock. You know the one that runs backwards...

Anonymous said...

Here we go again.

Anonymous said...

Oh, you mean the one that is going to draw all of the families here for the soccer play off's? "Gee mom, let's go see the flower clock and rose garden. I'm so glad we are here in Fairhope instead of Orange Beach where they actually have things to do - you know I'd rather see a flower clock then play in an arcarde or see a movie or have someplace really neat to see and eat at."

Anonymous said...

Another tax??? When will the various government levels realize that they've taxed the citizens to financial death? More and more taxes equals less disposable income which results in less sales tax and less business revenue which results in less business revenues to the tax collector and fewer jobs for the citizens which results in even less income tax and even less spending.....

Anonymous said...

No new taxes. Period.