Speaker at Vincent PTO meeting addresses tax renewal

By CHRISTINE BOATWRIGHT / Staff Writer

VINCENT – Parents of Vincent middle- and high-school students gathered together in the school’s auditorium on Feb. 7 to learn about the proposed renewal of the 30-mill property tax and the affects the tax held on the local schools.

Cindy Warner, the community education and public relations supervisor with the Shelby County School System, spoke with Vincent’s Parent-Teacher Organization about the tax renewal.

“I want to begin by stressing that we are not asking for a tax increase,” Warner said. “The opposite side wants you to believe that this is, in fact, an increase because we are increasing the amount of years you’ll be paying the tax. This is true, but it’s about how you look at it.”

Warner continued clarifying accusatory statements as she presented her case in support of the renewal.

“The other side says we’re sitting on a big pile of cash. We’re required, by state law, to have one-month’s reserve, but we don’t even have that.”

When asked the results if voters did not renew the tax, Warner responded frankly.

“We’ll continue to collect the tax for the next six years, but there will be no more capital improvements, no more building projects. Portables and unmanageable class sizes would come,” she said. “Also, I believe that we’d see major programming changes in the next two to three years. The extra programs would be severely slashed.

“We’d have to come before voters again in three to four years asking for another vote. We can’t operate at this standard or level without the 30 mills.”

Warner finalized her presentation by addressing rumors of Superintendent Randy Fuller’s raise.

Fuller’s salary was established at the start of his term, Warner said. When he took over the position from the previous superintendent, Evan Major, the salary was lowered, because Major held the position for eight years, and Fuller had just begun his term.

The salary was enhanced by incentives and bonuses in place, which Fuller needed to meet each year. More recently, the school board compared the Shelby County school district to other districts of similar size and raised Fuller’s to more closely match the salaries of those superintendents. The salary cannot be adjusted for the next four years, Warner clarified.

“Considering Shelby County is the fourth largest school district in the state, it’s as if Mr. Fuller is the CEO of the largest company in the county,” Warner said. “When you consider the enormity of the job he does, you realize that he could be making more elsewhere. You couldn’t pay me a million dollars to have his job.”