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THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 17, 2005
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EDITORIAL

Athens, Limestone voters re-invest in their future

Voters in Athens City and Limestone County school systems overwhelmingly approved property-tax renewals Tuesday.

What is surprising is not that the four separate issues succeeded — voters have renewed them every 20 years since at least 1964 — but the margin by which they passed.

Eighty percent of those voting approved 1-mill and 4.5-mill taxes, the proceeds of which districts will split based on attendance.

Similarly, 82 percent of Athens voters OK'd continuation of a 3-mill tax that benefits city schools, and 77 percent of Limestone voters approved a 3-mill tax for county schools.

Limestone Superintendent Barry Carroll noted that, as recently as three months ago, political analysts predicted the measures would fail due to a prevailing "vote-no" mentality in the region and state.

Less than 18 months ago, two-thirds of Alabama voters defeated a statewide referendum on Amendment One, Gov. Bob Riley's plan to increase taxes by $1.2 billion. After the failure, polls suggested that more than half of those opposing the plan did so because of "strong reservations about trusting the Legislature to allocate the new revenues appropriately."

The results of Tuesday's vote reflect the willingness of area residents pay for quality education for our children. They are also an indication of the confidence voters have in the respective school systems and their leadership.

Legislature: Are you listening?

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