As we’ve stated previously, we continue to voice our support for the special tax districts that were created by the Baldwin County Board of Education.
These districts represent the best chance for the areas of our county that want to vote additional taxes on themselves to do so and use that extra money to better their district’s schools.
The BCBE has even gone an extra mile to encourage the districts to create “boards of trustees” to help assess the feeder patterns’ needs and make recommendations to the board about what their area would like to see the money used for.
The school board was under no obligation to do this, but they did so to make sure the communities had a say in how their tax dollars might be spent.
Now, in the south part of our county, the actions of one political leader have upset that generous gesture and delayed a feeder pattern’s school tax vote. This politician demands limited to no school board involvement on that board of trustees.
As our interview this week with the Alabama Department of Education shows, the county board will still hold complete authority over the goings-on within the special tax districts, advisory committee or no.
The county school board has said they will ask the communities what they feel they need, but it will still be the school board that actually gets to vote on the matter, make the decision and hold all of the liability.
The county school board will still be the body that has to staff any new schools, oversee any new programs and approve any new positions.
So, while the local boards of trustees are a kind, grand gesture, at the end of the day, they only have the power to recommend, not actually do.
By holding up a vote on the special tax district to quibble over the makeup of a board that has no real power is puzzling.
To hold up potential funds that could be used to address overcrowding concerns, hire additional staff or create new, needed academic programs is prioritizing personal agendas and ego over the needs of our children.
We are sorry that one person has the ability to affect education for thousands of children in such a negative fashion.
Since the vote has now been delayed, we hope the official will reconsider his position and do what’s best for the children of his city and those of his feeder pattern by letting citizens vote.
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