Say yes to school tax renewal

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 7, 2006

This year is an election year. There are a number of offices up for election. To name a few:

State Sen. Hank Sanders will attempt to continue his reign in the State Senate, and House Rep. Yusuuf Salaam will try to win his second term, while on a local level the probate judge race is sure to garner plenty of attention. There are a number of other races and all are important to the future of Dallas County and the Black Belt region as well as the state of Alabama.

What may not be well-known is that perhaps the most important vote locally this year will not be for a candidate seeking an office, but rather for two tax renewals to support our county school systems. The taxes have been renewed every 30 years. School superintendent Fannie Major McKenzie said the school system’s current tax support will expire in 2007- thus the vote.

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The school board unanimously approved the $3 million school district tax during its meeting Monday. That tax, as well as the $8.5 million countywide tax will be on the ballots this year.

Even though the school board has approved the tax and elected officials are supporting the tax

– it is up to the voters. They ultimately will have the last say.

It is important to realize that this isn’t a new tax. It is not a political ploy to take dollars away from the working man – it is simply a renewal of a tax that has been around for more than 30 years.

It is perhaps even more important to know what will happen if the tax isn’t approved. Board chairman William Minor possibly said it best when he said that losing the tax renewals would “sink our ship for sure.”

He also made a valid point in that most voters are inclined to vote no anytime the word “tax” is part of a proposal. Just ask current Gov. Bob Riley.

The tax – if you will – is a necessity in the efforts to provide dollars for education. We can’t rely on the state of Alabama to support our local education. It is up to our community to continue supporting the district tax and the countywide tax. Without it, our ship may sink.