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Thursday, January 2, 2014

Superintendent Says Back Off New School District

 Fairhope, Alabama fairhopetimes@att.net

COUNTY TO PROPOSE NEW TAXES


According to information discussed at the last Education Advisory Committee meeting, Baldwin School Superintendent Alan Lee now opposes the effort to form a special school tax district in the Fairhope area -- because such an effort would hamper possible future county-wide tax increase proposals.

(Previous statements attributed to Lee had indicated support for the special district -- click.)

At a Dec. 4th meeting with city officials, Committee Charmain Bob Riggs said Lee indicated the School Board will likely ask voters to renew 7 mils of property tax that is scheduled to expire in 2016-17 -- and for an additional 8 mils for new school construction (5 schools, none in the Fairhope area).

Riggs: "They are projecting a need for another $150 - 200 million to fund that (new schools) ... source not currently available ... ."

"What the county is getting ready to propose is  ... increasing ad valor em tax ... for bonds ... in order to build these buildings ... ."

Riggs said that currently 12 mils in property tax is earmarked for schools in Fairhope, 7 of which is about to expire in 2 years.

Riggs: "Something absolutely has got to be done about that ... ."

"Plus, we're talking about an additional 8 mils ... to build these new buildings ... ."

DR. LEE OPPOSES LOCAL EFFORT


Committee member Jim Kellen said that since Fairhope voters traditionally have supported  county tax-increase referendums (68% for), Lee was concerned that Fairhope's efforts to raise taxes locally-only by 3 mils could dilute the county-wide proposals coming down the road.

Kellen: "He was concerned ... if you dilute that approval ... it would be more difficult to achieve ... in the broader system ... ."

"He was very concerned about the efforts we might be taking ... about the 3 mils."

Riggs: "Clearly the request was for us to back off ... ."

Committee member Diana Brewer said Lee wanted to know what the additional needs are in Fairhope currently.

Brewer: "If the county decides to ask for a referendum ... were there some needs the county could help meet ... in the interim?"

The possibility of having the county match the funds ($350K) that the city earmarks yearly for education was mentioned according to Brewer, but not for this year. (The city also spends about $750,000 annually to supplement sports-related school activities, according to mayor Kant.)

REFERENDUM COULD PROCEED ANYWAY

At the Dec. 4th meeting, Kellen said Mayor Kant indicated a willingness to negotiate with Lee, but wanted to know how it would specifically benefit Fairhope if the city does not proceed with its own referendum for the Fairhope feeder pattern.

(Later, Kant told the Times he thought it would be more equitable for city residents if the entire feeder pattern contributed more to schools (via a 3 mil referendum), not just in-city residents who have been supplementing schools with $350K for the past 3 years. If the 3 mil referendum passed, the $350K would cease.)

Riggs said the city clearly had the legal authority to proceed on its own: "The ... stars are aligned ... city officials are favorably disposed ... back away now ... may lose the opportunity ... never happen (again) ... ."

Kellen noted there is no guarantee the Fairhope area would ever see any of the proposed new county tax anyway, since no new schools will be needed here.

Mayor Kant and Council President Burrell told the Times recently that the issue is still being considered -- and the council could vote to hold a voter-referendum to form the new school district as early as this summer.

More meetings were to be scheduled to discuss the complex issues: one possibly on Jan 10th.

(They also said negotiations were still underway regarding the future of the K-1 school building on  Church St.  -- the city wants to lease it from the county and use it as a Performing Arts Center.)



17 comments:

Anonymous said...

Here's an idea...Keep Diana Brewer and company out of any discussions involving our Fairhope schools.

Anonymous said...

Why do you want to muzzle D.B? She was elected to the city council. Its her job. Maybe it is because you live out side the city limits and enjoy getting a free ride at the expense of city tax payers?

little billy said...

Let the people vote on it and decide for themselves. The good Dr. Lee isn't our Boss.

Anonymous said...

I actually live inside the city of Fairhope. Ms. Brewer has one agenda - a separate school system for Fairhope where she and her minions will preside over it as if it is a private school. Dr. Lee and Baldwin County are in charged with educating our children. Dr. Lee is a nationally recognized educator with a proven track record. Ms. Brewer is not.

robert said...

Who is going to run for the school board to replace Bob Callahan?

Anonymous said...

Don't know about you, but I don't trust the good ole boys in Bay Minette with my money ...

Anonymous said...

And I don't trust D. Brewer and company to do the right thing for education.

Anonymous said...

As long as Kant is King we should let the County run our schools.....

Anonymous said...

Flowers in every room.

Anonymous said...

Better yet, the Pirates mascot would be made out of flowers.

Anonymous said...

Once again, you same three people who are so miserable living here in Fairhope, spouting your same old, tired matra, i.e., Kant is king, too many flowers, etc., please, please, please, move on. I'm anticipating your remarks concerning the flower clock and your usual criticisms of Jennifer Fidler and Scott Sligh. I guess you just haven't gotten around to them yet. Allow the rest of us live in our fools paradise, because it is paradise. We would be smart enough to move on if we were as miserable as you obviously are here.We elected these guys and, so far, like what they're doing. At least we know they love this place as much as we do. Thanks to you all.

Anonymous said...

I didn't elect them. I didn't even vote for them. As far as Sligh, he is about as good as his name (sly). Fidler must be on the roof doing her thing. Can't get any help from either one of them. Try to get help from mayor about damage their trees are doing to property and all he says is "sue me".

Anonymous said...

It's a great place if you like living in the 1950's. The things that survive - change…they don't stay the same. Could Fairhope be worse? Yes. Could be much better? You betcha'.

J Simon said...

No money makes it to Bay Minette schools. East shore and Gulf Shores gets it all. Don't worry--the good ole boys in Bay Minette are on your side

Anonymous said...

Thank you...know get back to your over payed city job....

Anonymous said...

Anyone will be better than Callahan. He led the BCBE to borrow 1 Billion dollars (Yes...I said 1 Billion!) to build all these new schools back in the 2002-2006 era. The real reason we need the 1% education sales tax is that the debt Callahan and his cronies borrowed are costing millions annually in the interest payments.

Anonymous said...

Fairhope did move along with the tide in the 60 and 70s as every small Ala town and found itself completely bypassed as people preferred to shop at malls or party in Gulf Shores. In the 80's the town made a decision to go for a traditional 50's style look and feel with wholesome, kid friendly activities. We pretty well achieved that by 1988 - 1994. Hill Valley when Marty went back in time.

If you're a spoiled entitlement kid and bored, COOL-- I understand. Go to a big college in a big city somewhere and get a big job. After 20 years of fighting traffic, standing in lines, fighting your bosses, paying alimony and convincing your daughter not to be such a slut & paid for your son's 5th wrecked car-- you may remember this comment.