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Education leaders ask county to hold special election

Staff Writer

Education leaders have formally asked the Pike County Commission to hold a special election for the sole purpose of renewing the ad valorem tax.

Each school system must collect the equivalent of 10 mills of property tax or it doesn’t get its share of state monies.

"Essentially, its taken, by the state, off the top of local systems’ resources," Key said of that money.

Pike County collects 9.7 mills plus the one-cent sales tax Key calls the "lifeblood" of schools. Troy City Schools collect 10.7 mills plus sales tax.

Because of the importance of those dollars, both local school boards have asked for the commission to call a special election on March 12.

Ad valorem taxes must be renewed every few years and the current request is for the next consideration to be 29 years.

The resolution passed by the Pike County Board of Education asks for the levying of "a special district tax for public school purposes at the rate of 30 cents on each $100 of the assessed value of taxable property." It also asks it be levied each year, beginning Oct. 1, 2002.

"It is not a new tax," said John Key, superintendent of the Pike County Board of Education. "It is a renewal of what we currently have."

Hank Jones, superintendent of the Troy City Schools, reiterated the special election would be for the renewal of an existing tax and not an additional tax.

"It is essential for us to have this money so we can participate in the Education Trust Fund," Jones said.

When asked how the push will be made, Key told board members plans are to send out a newsletter. If not March 12, the next opportunity will be April 9.

"This timing is going to be important," Key said. "We should know about it by next Monday."

Now, that the Pike County Commission has accepted the resolutions and petitions presented Monday night, it will be up to the Pike County Revenue Commissioner and Board of Registrars to validate the signatures.

During the Pike County Board of Education’s meeting Monday night ­ prior to the commission meeting ­ the proposed plan for redistricting was approved.