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Hartselle Enquirer

Schools seek city funds

By Staff
Tracy B. Cieniewicz, Hartselle Enquirer
Hartselle's school system needs a financial boost from the city to avoid teacher cutbacks, according to Superintendent Dr. Lee Hartsell.
"Basically we're looking for about $300,000 in assistance," Hartsell said.
A work session was held Monday night between the Hartselle Board of Education and the city council to discuss how the school system might benefit from a possible property tax increase.
The council is working on a $23 million capital improvement plan, some $622,000 of which was already slated to go to the school system. All that money, however, would be spent on buildings and repairs, including re-roofing the high school, replacing heating and air conditioning units and other school renovations.
The entire capital improvement plan hinges on Hartselle voters, who would have to approve a 10-mill property tax increase before any work could begin.
For now, however, school officials are just looking for a way to cover costs in the coming year without losing teachers. School officials were told last month proration would be around 6 percent. This month, State Superintendent Dr. Ed Richardson said that number could go as high as 10 percent.
If the school system's needs aren't met, Hartsell said 9.6 teacher positions would inevitably be cut for the 2003-2004 academic year.
Nine teaching positions have been eliminated in the past two years due to funding problems.
"I'm hoping attrition will take care of most of it," Hartsell said. "Since our school system won't be getting any help from the state, next year will basically be about survival."
Hartsell said he felt confident that the council would consider the school system's needs in the city's discussed 10-mill property tax increase. The council expects the increase to generate $700,000 annually to fund a $16 million capital improvement plan.
The council will consider the school board's one-time financial request at a work session in April.