On March 7, local voters will cast ballots in the Jefferson County School Tax Election, which will be for two county-wide taxes and two Mountain Brook district-wide taxes.
While Mountain Brook Superintendent Dicky Barlow made sure to say during the city council meeting on Feb. 27 that the election was for a renewal of the taxes, specifically the district-wide taxes, he also stressed their importance for Mountain Brook Schools.
Of the district's general funds, Mountain Brook receives 37.3 percent from state revenue and 57.75 percent from local revenue.
"Just for a little information, usually that's [those numbers are] flipped in other school systems ... and so that is really important for us especially when we're talking about this tax renewal," he said.
Barlow continued, saying that the election next Tuesday is a special election and the only items on the ballots will be the four school taxes. The county taxes will be a 2.1 mill and a 5.4 mill countywide ad valorem tax, and the district taxes will be a 5.7 mill and a 18.5 mill district school tax. "All in total, that's about $18.5 million that's on the ballot this Tuesday," Barlow said. He also said that the approximate $18.5 million the schools receive from these taxes equates to 36 percent of the district's total revenue, which can be broken down to the salary and benefits for 246, or 67 percent, of the districts teachers.
Each voter will have to cast a ballot for the four taxes individually, and after looking at the last tax election in 2009, Barlow said that about 93 percent of Mountain Brook voters who participated that day voted in favor of the district tax.
"So we're not so concerned with the residents of Mountain Brook, but I really can't speak nor do I know how the people in the county vote, so I just think it's really important that we make sure we get out to the polls to help boost the yes vote for this," he said.
Barlow reiterated again that the election on March 7 is for a tax renewal.
"It's not a new tax," he said. "We've been paying on it in Mountain Brook for 30-something years, maybe even more than that," he said. "The people of Mountain Brook have always valued great education and this [election] is critical to continue that," he said.
Voters will be able to cast their ballots on at the same locations they visited during the November general elections. To see an example of the ballots, click here.