Montgomery REALTORS support raising local property tax to increase school funding
The Montgomery Area Association of REALTORS announced on Wednesday that they support the upcoming ballot initiative that would raise county property taxes to increase education funding.
Montgomery Public Schools (MPS) would receive 100% of the new tax dollars from the increase, which is estimated to be $33 million per year. The system is currently funded by the lowest legally allowable property tax rate.
“Our children deserve more than the bare minimum,” said Brad Owen, head of Montgomery Area Association of REALTORS, in a statement.
He added, “A vote in favor of this tax increase is a vote for the future of our children and our community.”
The proposed increase of 12 mills (the increment by which Alabama measures property taxes) would put MPS closer to what many big school systems pay, though it would still be on the low end and just below the rate paid by residents zoned for the Birmingham City School system.
Montgomery Public Schools has consistently rated as one of the worst performing school systems in Alabama over the last decade. The situation grew so dire in 2017 that the State Board of Education temporarily took over the system in attempt to correct some of the underlying issues.
Many schools in the system have leaky roofs and lack air conditioning. Officials estimate $250 million in facility renovations are needed just so students can study in proper environments.
A homeowner in Montgomery County whose property is assessed to be worth the median amount of $127,500 would pay roughly $120 more in property taxes each year if the tax increase is approved.
Those who live within the city limits of Pike Road would be unaffected by the increase because they have their own school district.
According to MPS, the new revenue “would be used to fund improved academic curriculum, career and skills training programs, and hiring more high-quality teachers in every classroom.”
MPS also says that part of the new money “would also be used to make major repairs and renovations to existing run-down school facilities.”
“This vote is about investing in Montgomery’s students and providing them with the quality education they deserve. As REALTORS, we understand the vital role the quality of our schools plays in our economy, our ability to attract new business, and our communities as a whole,” remarked Owen.