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Parker: Vote ‘For’ the renewal of school funding

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

Let me begin by saying the three school funding measures that Madison voters will decide on in Alabama’s Dec. 12 U.S. Senate election are NOT new taxes.

They are renewals. A continuation of what you already pay.

I love our kids and know that you do, too. Be sure to vote and tell a neighbor to vote FOR each measure to support our kids.

So, what does Madison City Schools get for the $6.5 million it receives from those taxes? More precisely, what’s the return on investment for what equates to $95 in property taxes per $100,000 value in a home?

You get a school district that consistently ranks in the top three in almost every major academic category among Alabama’s 137 school districts. This is impressive on its own, but note we’ve done that while ranking 61st out of 137 in per-pupil expenditures. ($9,305 per student vs. the state average of $9,389.) So there’s very good value.

Now is not a time to go backwards in funding:

* Children get a top-notch education at modest cost to taxpayers.

* Local employers get a skilled workforce that is adaptable to the ever-changing needs of this global society.

* The community gets model citizens who will one day be our leaders.

* Everyone benefits through higher property values on their homes and businesses.

These accolades wouldn’t have been possible without the investments our citizens have made since Madison formed its own school district. In just 20 short years, proof of our performance can be found in almost any measure whether in academics, the arts, athletics, or any other endeavor our students pursue.

Consider also:

* Fifty-five percent of Madison City graduates in the last four years earned scholarships totaling $66 million for an average of $36,000 each.

* Both Bob Jones and James Clemens high schools consistently land on “Best High Schools in America” lists of “The Washington Post” and “Newsweek.” The Post’s latest ranking listed BJ and JC among the top five high schools in Alabama.

* “U.S. News and World Report’s” annual rankings of the 22,000 public high schools nationwide just placed BJ and JC in the top 10 in Alabama out of 127 that were ranked. The national education research group Niche just ranked Madison the third best school district in Alabama and the 159th best in the nation out of 10,574 that even made the list.

I can brag all day about how we typically produce more national merit scholars than any other school district in Alabama and that our theater, bands and athletic teams consistently shine in regional, state and national competitions.

I can also brag about how our elementary schools, led by outstanding teachers, provide Spanish instruction and clubs like chess, robotics, math, and goblin cars, to help feed young students’ hungry minds.

We are fortunate to be teaching the future of Madison. I’m fired up every time I get to talk about our students and our schools.

Please join me on Dec. 12 to continue that funding that has helped make our students so successful. Your vote is worth $58 million in annual funding to Madison, Huntsville and Madison County Schools.

Approval of each of the renewals won’t increase your taxes one bit. Now that’s a pretty good deal.

James Clemens High School

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