A Mississippi attorney general’s official opinion has confirmed what local school officials thought was the case, that the $300,000 a year Toyota pays Union County in lieu of school taxes can only be used for county, not city, schools.
As part of its agreement when the plant was built, Toyota must give Pontotoc, Lee and Union counties $300,000 each a year in lieu of paying school taxes. In Lee and Pontotoc counties, the money is split between county and city school districts.
However, under the law, because the plant is in Union County, the county gets all the money for county schools. None can be given to the New Albany schools.
The attorney general’s opinion confirms the law and goes on to say that the Union County Board of Supervisors cannot enter into any agreement to give part of the money to the city schools.
New Albany officials have argued, quite rightly we think, that it is unfair for all the districts in two other counties to share the money while the New Albany schools are left out.
The growth in school enrollment over the years will affect all the schools, not just those in the county. We think it is unfair for the allocation in the county where the plant actually is located to be handled differently than in the other two counties.
But that is current law. Obviously, the law needs to be changed.
Our local legislators should take the lead in making this happen quickly so that the schools in our county are treated in the same manner as those in Lee and Pontotoc counties.