Madison City Council members agreed, without dissent, to seek a 12-mil property tax increase to build new schools and improve school safety and security.
Council approval now sends the school board’s funding request to the Legislature to put before voters in a referendum.
A 12-mil increase is also being sought from Triana, which holds its public hearing on the school tax on Monday, Nov. 19, at 6:30 p.m. Not a single speaker at the Madison Council public hearing spoke against the tax. All were in favor, with many questioning whether 12-mils will be enough.
A 12-mil property tax would add $120 annually in property taxes per $100,000 value of home, or $10 per month. The Madison millage increase would apply to all of the Madison city limits in both Limestone and Madison counties and used exclusively for Madison City Schools.
Schools Superintendent Robby Parker and the Madison City Board of Education developed a strategic plan based on revenues that would be generated by the new 12-mil. That plan calls for construction of a new elementary and middle school, expansion of the high schools, a community-wide performing arts center for schools and another PreK Center. The 12-mils would also help cover the additional costs for school safety and security.
Madison City Schools has more than doubled in enrollment since it separated from Madison County Schools 20 years ago. The resulting school building boom maxed out its borrowing capacity to build new schools. A 12-mil increase would generate about $8 million per year, enabling the district to bond finance more than $100 million for new school construction and cover the added security and operational costs.
Madison City Schools currently ranks 82 out of 137 Alabama public school districts in per pupil spending. Its pupil-teacher ratio is 129th worse out of 137 school systems.