Special Election Held to Renew 50+ Year Property Tax that Benefits Opelika City Schools
Opelika voters will decide Tuesday if they want to continue to renew a 1/2 of 1% property tax that was first enacted in 1965 by the Alabama Legislature. Citizens of Opelika vote on it every 30 years.
it was passed in 1989 and once again voters will decide if they want to renew this tax that provides about $2 million for Opelika City schools every year.
“Its not shared. It comes straight to Opelika City Schools and helps with our budget. 40% of our budget is local and 50% of it comes from the state. State money is tied up and you don’t have much flexibility. So, the local revenue we have, which is part of that, impacts every classroom K-12,” said Dr. Mark Neighbors, Superintendent for Opelika City Schools.
The money generated from the tax goes toward the arts, career tech program, transportation and technology.
The State gives them $50,000 every year to go toward technology in the classroom. But, Dr. Neighbors said they spend close to $1million to give students an opportunity to learn at a higher level and give students who need it more support.
He adds renewing this existing property tax is very important to Opelika City Schools.
“I hope they see what we offer is important to every child and valuable to our community,” said Dr. Neighbors.
The mayor of Opelika agrees.
“There’s a substantial gap between what the state of Alabama funds Opelika City Schools and what our schools need to operate, especially these extras programs that make our schools so unique,” said City of Opelika Mayor Gary Fuller.
This tax has helped Opelka City Schools for more than 50 years and he hopes the community sees how important this is to continue giving their students the best education and skills to successfully move on to the next level.
“What they learn from K-12 is critical. So, by supporting this renewal, we are properly funding Opelika City School, so those students can do those things they should do and want to do and are doing it very well,” said Mayor Fuller.
Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday.