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SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 17, 2006
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EDITORIAL

Morgan County schools must have tax renewed

Somebody's slip-up will cost Morgan County schools several thousand dollars in tax revenue. But getting the tax renewed is much more important than finding out who should have alerted the board that the tax expires Sept. 30.

Board members learned that the 7.3 mill tax is expiring in a letter from county attorney Bill Shinn earlier this month. Ideally, the renewal vote could have been included on the Nov. 7 general election ballot to save the cost of an additional trip to the polls, but general elections are not the best time to ask voters to renew a tax. Getting the tax on the ballot at this late date also poses problems.

Thus, Superintendent Don Murphy hopes for a special election shortly after the first of the year. In the meantime, schools may lose vehicle tax revenue for the last quarter of the year, but the focus must be on renewal of the 50-year tax that brings in about $5 million annually for county schools.

The tax does not affect Decatur or Hartselle schools.

The foul-up on getting the tax to the voters in time to avoid an interruption in revenue may color some voters' thinking, if they are looking for an excuse to not renew the tax.

But the schools need the revenue. Board member Carolyn Wallace said losing the tax would be devastating to county schools.

She's right. Come January, when school officials hope to hold the referendum, county voters should be well aware that vote is not for a new tax but to renew one they are already paying.

If school officials make the vote a referendum on the quality of education rural students get, the renewal should pass easily. Morgan County has good schools.

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