Hoover considering property tax increase to support its school system

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Property taxes in Hoover could go up to help the school system keep up with its growing student population.

The Hoover city school board passed a resolution to ask the city council to take the next step to raise the tax.

The council discussed the proposal Thursday evening and will vote next week about holding a public hearing on the issue.

If the city council approves its resolution, the next step would be for the state legislature to authorize a vote by the people of Hoover.

Hoover City Schools Superintendent Dr. Kathy Murphy says the revenue would be dedicated to capital needs. She points to an increasing student population with increasing needs.

“If we have schools that are overcrowded, that means we have classrooms that are overcrowded,” said Dr. Murphy. “And it means we cannot respect what really was an initial charge of the school district which was to keep our class sizes smaller.”

The school system’s proposed 2.4 mill increase would mean a $2 increase per month for a $100,000 home. It would bring in an extra $3.6 million for the school system.

“We do need that expansion,” continued Murphy. “We do need additional schools, perhaps an additional high school and so trying to facilitate that classroom environment where the student to teacher ratio allows us best teaching.”

So why is the school system asking for the 2.4 mill increase? That increase would bring Hoover to the 75 mill cap, allowed to be collected under a state law, called the Lid Law.

The only cities that go higher than that are Huntsville, Mountain Brook and Vestavia Hills. Those cities were already above 75 when the Lid Law was passed.

City councilman and parent, John Lyda, is optimistic the city council will offer unanimous support.

“I think there’s no question quality of education and success in a classroom is largely tied to funding,” said Lyda. “Certainly, parental involvement is important but funding is the mother’s milk of high quality education and if you look throughout Alabama at those strong school systems, including Hoover, you can see the dollars per student are some of the highest for the most successful systems.”

Hoover Mayor Frank Brocato told ABC 33/40 he has full confidence in Dr. Murphy and the school board, and supports the people’s right to vote on the proposal.

Hoover parents we talked with said they're willing to pay a little more to help the school system keep up with the growth.

“As a mother, the most important thing for my children is going to be school systems,” said Danielle McClain, a mother who plans to send her young children to Hoover schools.

“I think anything that benefits our schools and our children’s education at this point is something we need to be investing in,” said Paul Dangel, a Hoover homeowner and parent.

If Hoover does raise its millage to the maximum 75 mills, under the state lid law, and wants to raise it higher one day, it would need to undergo a lengthy process.

Going above the “lid” would require a vote from the legislature and a new, county wide vote to try to be exempt from the lid law. That's something we saw Homewood try earlier this month. Jefferson County voters rejected that amendment.

Alabama has the lowest property tax collections per capita in the United States, according to data from the Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama.

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