School tax support leads state
Editor's note: This is the second in a series examining the Alabama State Department of Education's annual Report Card. This week's story examines performance in Hartselle and Morgan County schools compared to systems throughout the state. Next week's story will examine performance at individual schools.
Leada DeVaney, Hartselle Enquirer
Hartselle taxpayers contribute more to city schools than property owners in any other part of the state, according to an indicator the State Department of Education uses to gauge local financial support.
Using the mills equivalent system, Hartselle earns an 82.25, or an "A," in the state ranking. The state average is 31.59 mills, or a "C." Morgan County's average is 33.83 mills, or a "C-plus."
The state uses the mills equivalent system to determine local contributions for school systems, with the goal of judging support on an even basis even though a mill of property tax is worth various amounts in different areas of the state. The department defines the mill equivalent as the total amount of revenue collected locally for public schools, divided by the value of one regular system mill of ad valorum tax.
According to Mitch Edwards of the Alabama Department of Education, Hartselle has been at the top of this list for the past several years.
"It's certainly much higher than many," Edwards said.
The next highest percentage is from the Sheffield City School System, which received a 68.05. Hartselle's score is 31.83 higher than that of Mt. Brook, an affluent Birmingham area system that traditionally posts the best academic performance in the state.
The figures were released as part of the State Department of Education's annual Report Card. The report card details performance and financial information for all of the state's school systems. The report covers a variety of topics, including test scores, funding and expenditures.
The Enquirer took the results of the report card and compared Hartselle and Morgan County's results with systems throughout the state. The systems selected were chosen based on either similar size of student population, proximity to Hartselle; or high academic achievement. A complete chart of the results can be seen on Page A-7.
The highlights include: