Advisory boards are formed
I've heard similar statements quite a few times at local school board meetings in the last few months, and the comments are always related to spending funds. What's different about next year is that in January 2005, the extra revenue from our county's 10-mill ad valorem tax increase will finally be available.
Voted in by a large margin in December 2003, the 10-mill increase was a major victory for Brewton City Schools and Escambia County Schools -- and for school-age children in the count.y. But the school systems still have to get through more than half a year on very lean budgets before that much-needed money is in hand.
On its annual report card from the State Board of Education, the Escambia County School System received a "D" this year for the county's taxation efforts. The evaluation did not take into consideration the tax increase, so the grade in this area should improve with the next report card.
But I imagine that trying to operate a school system on "D"-rated funding is probably like trying to learn about World War I by reading a term paper that earned a "D." Somehow the schools have done it and done well, despite very limited resources.
While funding is still tight for the rest of this year, Escambia County Schools have already been planning for next year and how money from the 10-mill increase can best be used.
In a recent interview, Superintendent Melvin Powell mentioned plans to hire teachers, add programs, upgrade technology, replace desks and even set some funds aside for the next time the schools face proration.
In a laudable step to start planning for next year's funds, Powell formed Choose Children Advisory Boards to represent the interests of county schools in the Brewton, Flomaton and Atmore areas.
Made up of parents, teachers, administrators and other community members, the advisory boards have met to discuss and prioritize the schools' funding needs.
What's certain is that when those funds become available in January, the school systems will have plenty of opportunity to spend them.
On another note, don't forget to introduce your kids to the democratic process on Tuesday. Children who grow up learning about the political process will be more inclined to participate in it as adults.