Edwards: schools need more

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 16, 2007

the selma times-journal

The Dallas County Board of Education wants an increase in tax dollars.

Roy Edwards, who Thursday night rotated into the role of chairman of the board, said one of his first duties might be to sit down with Dallas County commissioners to discuss money and the school district. &8220;Perhaps when things are better for them, if we need some in-kind services, maybe they can help with that.&8221;

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Right now, the school district does not have at least 1 1/2 months of money set aside in reserve as required by law.

Three years ago, the district issued $20 million in bonds to finance a capital building program that, among other things, saw construction of Gilbert Martin Middle School in Valley Grande and new gymnasiums at Keith High School in Orrville and Southside High School just outside Selma city limits.

Since then, the district has used a quarter-cent sales tax given it by the county more than 10 years ago to pay the debt.

Now, the reserve is running low and Edwards wants to bolster that shortfall with a bigger take of the sales tax revenue.

The bond debt is down to about $10 million, Edwards said.

But operating expenses have increased, and the district has received permission from the state to use capital funds for those expenses.

School board member Bill Minor thinks the county commission ought to fork over the cash.

“We’re in dire straits for some monies as we speak,” he said.