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Voters in Chelsea will soon vote on property tax increase for new city school system

Future of Chelsea schools
Published: May. 11, 2022 at 8:54 PM CDT
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CHELSEA, Ala. (WBRC) - Voters in Chelsea will soon be heading to the polls to vote for or against a property tax increase that would fund a new city school system.

Leaders in Chelsea are split on whether a new school system is feasible at this time, but one father we spoke to said he doesn’t want the City of Chelsea to break away from the Shelby County School System.

Chelsea voters will decide on July 12 whether to raise property taxes by 1.25% for new a city school system.

Cody Cothron, who has children in Chelsea schools, said he’s against it.

“I’m more concerned of what it’s going to do to our community. We moved here because of this community. We go to church with these neighbors, we eat at these restaurants, we support these businesses, and we’re in jeopardy of all of this being torn apart because a lot of the kids at our schools don’t live in these city limits, but we’re still part of the Chelsea family,” Cothron said.

Right now, Chelsea schools are part of the Shelby County School District.

Those in favor of the tax increase said the city needs a separate school system now because Chelsea is growing fast, and this would mean better school facilities.

But Cothron said there’s a better way to accomplish the same goal.

“The 12.5 mill property tax was not a part of the feasibility study, and it also barely just covers the operating cost that the county does now. So, we’re still not going to be able to have the money or resources to improve it,” Cothron explained.

Cothron has an 8th grader at Chelsea Middle School, and kindergartener at Chelsea Park Elementary.

He said he worries teachers, staff and bus drivers will lose their jobs if the school district splits and said the bonds his kids have built with their friends will be broken if the tax increase passes.

“I just don’t see the point in this right now with inflation as high as it is and the potential of a recession, why are we pushing this right now? I feel like one day we will have the city schools. I just don’t feel like it’s right now and I certainly don’t believe this is the best proposal to get it done,” Cothron said.

Councilman Casey Morris said a one percent education tax already in place could be spent on improving current school facilities.

We reached out to the mayor but haven’t heard back from him yet.

You’ll have the chance to weigh in at a town hall meeting on the property tax on May 23.

It’s being held at New Life Church on Hwy 280 at 6:30 p.m.

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