Why Is It Important?
Madison City Schools are the bedrock of our great community. To maintain academic excellence and continue to excel as a system, this 12 mil ad valorem increase is required.
Build a new elementary and middle school, and additions to the high schools.
Lead the state in academics, arts, and athletics.
Keep our per-pupil levels from increasing.
To support the strategic plan of our Madison City Schools leadership and Superintendent.
What does the Strategic Plan Call for?
Elementary school ($34 million), middle school ($49 million), high school additions ($18-$20 million), $3.5 million for additional operational support (SROs, counselors, teachers, utilities). Proceeds will also be used to repurpose West Madison Elementary into a districtwide PreK Center, safety enhancements, address numerous deferred maintenance projects, and for innovative instructional initiatives.
How Will It Be Paid for?
Funding ONLY for our School System!
It is clearly spelled out in the agreement with the City and in the legislation seeking the property tax election. It will be a Madison City tax limited to use for public school purposes by Madison City Schools that may be expended solely by Madison City Schools.
What Happens If The Increase Is Not Passed?
What are the results if the increase is not passed on how will this affect our school system?
The school system's consistent enrollment gains is unsustainable. (3rd fastest growth of 139 Alabama school systems). Annual enrollment growth was averaging 286 students over an eight year period in 2012 when the Board initially tried to get a property tax referendum through the Legislature. That measure hit a roadblock in the Senate and never got to the ballots. Local Boards of Education in Alabama have no taxing nor housing approval authority. When the board's 2012 property tax increase hit legislative hurdles, the Board subsequently began focusing attention on slowing city annexations and subdivision approvals, strengthening its address verification and enforcement efforts, and getting legislative approval for several property tax RENEWALS. The renewals were generously approved by voters in December 2017 and a crucial step to NOT lose EXISTING funding. Madison City school enrollment continues to grow at a more accelerated rate. with more than 1,600 students added in the past four years. Madison City Schools is on track to add more than 600 students this coming year. That’s more than the enrollment at West Madison Elementary alone, which had 448 students near the end of the school year. The additional 1,603 students from 2014-2018 are the equivalent of three average-size elementary schools, two average-sized middle schools or a high school.
The Strategic Plan calling for new schools assumes approval of the proposed increased tax revenue for Madison City Schools. What is the fallback if the 12 mils is not approved? The 12-mil proposal is what the superintendent, using Growth Impact Committee findings, feels is necessary to address future enrollment increases. Without the building of additional schools, continued enrollment growth would require extensive rezoning and other possible actions such as split sessions, year-round school and significant program cuts that would jeopardize the quality of the educational product offered by Madison City Schools. School board leaders believe that doing nothing would erode the educational quality of MCS and harm students, decrease home values, and deter employers from locating here. Packing more students on existing campuses would overtax lunchrooms, gyms, hallways and other school operations. Approximately 200 kids had to be turned away from PreK this year for lack of space. Expanding schools versus building additional ones would also worsen pupil-teacher ratios and increase traffic congestion around what would be even bigger schools.
Why is MCS's per-pupil revenues so low compared to other Alabama public schools? Per-pupil revenue rankings are from several factors including the amount of local tax support, and the percent of students living at or below poverty which qualifies the district for additional federal money. Madison City Schools is “house poor” in that its exceedingly rapid growth has required it to borrow to build new schools faster than growth in revenue can occur. Consequently, MCS has disproportionately more of its money committed to paying for schools. Madison residents also pay far less in local education property taxes than other top performing school districts in Alabama. Here are the education millages in the top 5 school districts according to NICHE: (Mountain Brook, 52.9 mils; Madison City, 27; Homewood City, 37.5; Hoover City, 46.1; Vestavia Hills, 52.05). Mountain Brook is seeking a 10-mil increase this fall, which would bring its total school millage to 47. Although Madison residents enjoy a top ranked school system while paying only 27 mils of tax for education, the school system simply cannot continue to compete with those collecting almost as much as twice in local support for education when MCS is saddled with so much demand for new capital construction.