Public’s help needed for schools to excel

As superintendent, I take great pride in the many recent accomplishments of our school district.

To maintain this high level of excellence, the district needs your help in renewing 30 mills of existing property tax on February 8. District leaders chose “Renew Now for Our Children’s Future” as our campaign slogan because we believe it is the most important decision residents will make to support education for the next 30 years.

The vote to renew the taxes will NOT result in a tax increase – residents will continue to pay the same rate they are currently paying!

State law allows an ad valorem tax to be levied for schools for a 30 year period.

For high growth areas such as Shelby County, this is the most optimum length of time – especially in securing bonds for future growth and long range strategic planning.

The revenue generated from the existing taxes is vital to our school district. It makes up 28 percent of our overall budget and is used to fund programs, personnel, operations and capital improvements.

This funding is crucial for the continuation of programs such as art, music, physical education, gifted education and technology. This revenue also helps fund increasing utility costs, technology, and repayment of bonds used to finance past capital improvement projects.

Over the past 25 years, these bonds have financed the construction of 15 new schools and the addition of classrooms and renovations to the remaining 24 schools.

Because there are only six years left in these existing property taxes, the school district is unable to secure additional bonds for capital improvements until the taxes are renewed.

Shelby County continues to grow each year, with a projected total of approximately 3,000 students over the next six years. In the coming years, the district will still have a need for additional classrooms and new schools.

Without the renewal, we will be unable to build any new schools or make future plans for additions or renovations to our existing schools. By holding a special election, we are asking Shelby County residents to continue to build on the tradition of excellence that has been established in our school district.

Randy Fuller is superintendent of Shelby County Schools.