This year the Union County School Board has voted to request a 4 percent increase in ad valorem taxes for the 2011-2012 school year.
Under Mississippi law, the request, once made by the school board, is required to be granted by the Union County Board of Supervisors. It must be approved by Sept. 15.
School officials have said the additional local money will be needed to offset a projected decrease in revenue from both state and federal sources.
The district projects a decrease of operational revenue to $20.5 million from $21.2 million. Most of the decrease will come from a decline in money from federal sources. The district got $3.7 million in the current year, and is expecting $2.8 million in the coming year.
The decline is because the federal stimulus money provided by the administration of President Barack Obama, which has been a lifesaver for Mississippi public schools, is running out.
Gov. Haley Barbour and the Mississippi Legislature have failed to fulfill their legal responsibility of providing adequate money for our public schools, which has put local districts in a squeeze.
The New Albany City Schools increased taxes in the current year, but hope to survive next year without an additional increase.
Our county schools have not been so fortunate. Current projected tax revenue will be insufficient to meet the minimum need for the coming year.
The Union County Schools have no choice but to seek additional local support to maintain a competitive school system for our children. We support this request.