As seen on WVUA 23 News on Feb. 14, 2023.
Tuscaloosa County residents are heading to the polls Feb. 14 to vote on a property tax increase that, if passed, will go toward the Tuscaloosa County School System. The proposed amendments are 3- and 5-mill tax increases.
Proponents of the bill say the funds are necessary for school upkeep and added resources across the district.
“This money would allow us to have more resource officers across our schools and our county,” said Tuscaloosa County School System Superintendent Keri Johnson. “And that’s important because we’re so spread out, if we have an emergency, our response time can sometimes take a while.”
But not everyone is on board with the bill, and a campaign asking residents to “Vote NO!” has placed signs across the county. Resident Jerry Turner has been fighting increased property taxes for 35 years and he said this election isn’t any different.
“Years ago, people, we voted this down 2 to 1 because of the way the school board went about it. It’s a shady deal today, shadier than it was then,” Turner said.
If the measures pass, TCSS would be bringing in around $15 million a year. Johnson said that money will be going toward district-wide improvements, including a new school building, track updates, and a performing arts facility.
Turner said it’s the lack of transparency from the school system that has him opposing the amendment.
“We’re not against educating our children,” Turner said. “We’re against waste. If y’all really need the money, if you’re forthright with it and lay everything on the table, we’ll see what we can do about helping you get some more funding.”
Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. in Tuscaloosa County. Residents who live in the city of Tuscaloosa cannot vote on this measure, as it only affects the Tuscaloosa County School System.