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School system to campaign for property tax increase

By Gary Lloyd

TRUSSVILLE — The Trussville City Board of Education on Monday discussed four benefits of Trussville residents possibly voting for a seven-millage property tax increase that will fund two new community elementary schools.

Trussville City Schools Superintendent Pattie Neill said the benefits of two new elementary schools are eliminating all portable classrooms, improving school safety with tornado shelters, improving the quality of education with smaller class sizes and improving property values.

The Trussville City Council earlier this month approved of setting a Feb. 25, 2014, special tax election. Public hearings are expected to be set in January and February. Seven additional mills in property taxes would cost Trussville residents $70 per year on homes appraised at $100,000, $140 per year on homes appraised at $200,000 and $210 per year on homes appraised at $300,000.

A rendering of what the elementary school in the Cahaba Project will look like, as seen from where Jack Wood Stadium currently stands
photo courtesy of Trussville City Schools

The plan is to renovate the city’s original high school in the Cahaba Project and to build a new school near the Magnolia Place subdivision.

“We can’t hold overcrowding at Paine any longer,” Neill said. “This particular solution gives us room for growth for many years.”

Neill said that despite spreading students across three elementary campuses, the Paine campus will not lack students. Projected city growth, notably in the new Stockton subdivision, will prevent Paine from lacking students.

Board President Bill Roberts said it should be stressed to city residents that two new schools will improve traffic congestion in downtown Trussville and other areas.

“We can’t overemphasize” how this plan eases traffic in downtown Trussville and on U.S. Highway 11, Roberts said.

The board of education also discussed how funds could be spent to pay for campaign signs and advertisements encouraging residents to support a property tax increase. Law allows school system funds to be used for this purpose, but school officials said it would be a better idea to raise money through donations to pay for the campaign.

“That’s the route I’d like to see us go down,” Roberts said.

Neill said fifth-graders at Paine Intermediate School recently proposed several campaign slogans. They included “These Paws Need Solid Walls,” referencing the Huskies mascot and the portable classrooms at the campus, as well as “Neighborhood Schools Rule,” referencing two new elementary schools in the community. Neill said she hopes the campaign has a slogan by the end of this week.

“The students are so creative,” Neill said.

Contact Gary Lloyd at news@trussvilletribune.com and follow him on Twitter @GaryALloyd.

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