Property tax supports public schools

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 9, 2007

To the editor:

Property owners throughout the state of Alabama recently received a courtesy tax notice via the United States Postal Service.

Revenue from property tax is the county government’s primary source of funding public schools.

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Initially, many of the nation’s earliest politicians and religious organizations opposed tax supported public schools.

They felt that education was a private matter and to tax citizens to support it was unconstitutional.

Then, some of these individuals began to realize that if this democracy was going to grow and be prosperous, educational opportunities had to be extended beyond the privileged class.

Working people’s children had to be educated, also.

The decades from 1820 to 1860 witnessed startling changes in people’s attitude toward public education.

By 1860, the principle of a free, tax-supported, public school education was generally accepted.

Nevertheless, a small minority of individuals presently have a prejudice against public education, and the method (s) in which it is funded.

There are good things happening in public schools in Alabama.

A recent report released by National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) indicates Alabama with the greatest improvement in the nation in fourth grade reading scores.

This improvement is the highest of any state in the United States between 2005 and 2007.

The report also shows Alabama’s students’ improvement in fourth and eighth grade mathematics.

Progress has been made in student academic performance.

Now, it is imperative to focus on capital improvement.

The average school building in the United States is 50 years old.

Renovating and constructing new schools should be included in many districts’ short and long term strategic plan.

On the average, taxpayers’ education designated dollars are wisely spent in the state of Alabama.

Public education helps our democracy by allowing individuals to gain knowledge.

Knowledge can be a powerful tool as well as a personal asset.

Gerald Shirley, Principal

School of Discovery, Selma

What are we telling our leaders?

To the editor:

It is said, the actions our leaders take today will prepare the way for the leaders of tomorrow. One would hope that our leaders of tomorrow are not watching all of the actions our leaders of today are demonstrating.

It is sad that our city leaders cannot get together for a few hours to discuss ways to make this city a better place without having some type of brawl or without leaders trying to destroy each other’s character. What is even sadder is that we don’t seem to realize that our actions on and off duty reflect who we are and that our future leaders are watching us on a daily basis.

This is why when things are brought to the mayor’s office and department head about city employees who hold an appointed position they should take action that will show tomorrows leaders that your actions do speak louder than your words.

We cannot have city employees who hold an appointed position using city property (cell phones, vehicles and buildings) to run personal businesses and run errands outside of the city.

I know the citizens of Selma do not want to pay for cell phones, new vehicles and upkeep of buildings when our leaders are allowing them to be used for things other than city business.

I ask and pray that we change the way we look at things and the way we do things in our position of leadership.

We can send someone home for a few days and move them around and think we’ve done our job but what are we really telling our future leaders?

Scott Girlie