School tax vote Thursday

Published 11:26 am Monday, September 11, 2006

By By Kerry Whipple Bean – publisher
Voters in Escambia County have the opportunity Tuesday to decide whether to renew a total of 4 mills in ad valorem taxes benefiting local schools.
Polls open at 7 a.m. and close at 7 p.m.
On the ballot are a 1-mill county-wide tax and a 3-mill district tax. The county-wide tax requires a simple majority to pass, and the 3-mill district tax requires a 60 percent majority.
The taxes actually date back about 80 years and were last up for renewal more than 30 years ago.
School officials have said the taxes are needed to continue improvements in the Escambia County and Brewton school districts.
Earlier this year, superintendents Lynn Smith and Billy Hines asked county commissioners to set the special election in September to avoid confusion with another measure that will be on the November ballot.
The November statewide ballot will include a measure to require all school districts to have at least 10 local mills in funding.
Both Brewton and Escambia County already passed that extra 10 mills in 2003.
Both school districts saw improvements in test scores and accountability reports this year.
All of the Brewton schools and all but two of the Escambia schools met their adequate yearly progress goals, as set by the federal No Child Left Behind Act.
Also, standardized test scores from the past school year showed improvements on the Alabama Reading and Math Test, the writing assessment and the graduation exam.

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