Tax issue will be resolved

Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 13, 2010

Dear Editor,

As readers have seen in the Andalusia Star-News articles, Andalusia City Schools recently asked the County Commission to collect taxes we felt were due to our system.

This three mill tax would roughly equate to $300,000 per year for our system and would have helped alleviate the drastic decrease in money that we have seen from our State over the past two years.

Although the commission did not vote to levy and collect this tax we believe we can effectively work together to resolve this matter some time in the future.  It is very safe to say that the last two years have been extremely difficult for our system due to these budget cuts.

For example, this year, our classroom teachers have not received any instructional money to purchase much needed classroom supplies.  Proration has resulted in a loss of $991,574 for fiscal year 2009 and $630,605 for fiscal year 2010.  This amounts to a loss of $1,622,179 over the past two years.

This loss is made up from our fund balance, or reserves, which are currently being reduced by $50,000 per month.  ACS started fiscal year 2010 with $1.5M in reserves (which is approximately 3 month’s reserves or $920,000). At this rate we will be down to one month’s reserve in 11.5 months, or at the end of this year.

Our system is required by law to keep one month’s operating expense in reserves to make payroll and pay bills. This, at times, may be a difficult task when the state has sometimes been known to be late in releasing money to our system. Many schools throughout the state are borrowing money from banks to keep them in operation and keep their doors open.  I want to emphasize that this is in no way what the administration, our school board, or our citizens want for our schools.

Andalusia has a very proud heritage of having an excellent school system and our school board strives to continue this tradition and build upon it for the future of ACS. I welcome and encourage everyone to visit our board meetings and get involved with our schools.  The dates and times of our board meetings are posted on the system’s Web site or one may call the central office to inquire about our meeting times.

Thank you and

Go Bulldogs!

David Bryant

Board Chairman

Andalusia City Schools