Lawrence County Schools In Funding Crisis

MOULTON, Ala. (WHNT) – Lawrence County schools now say they may have to eliminate as many as a dozen teacher positions. Superintendent Heath Grimes tells us not only does Lawrence County have the lowest property tax rate in the nation, but the loss of the county’s largest employer is draining students and money out of the system.

Not just the lowest ad valorem tax in this state, but in the United States. It means less funding for schools than any other system in the area.

“We do not have enough revenue to support our schools and with local units and the facilities and operations and maintenance,” Grimes says.

With the loss of International Paper, which was the county’s largest employer, it means there will be even less.

“We are going to have to make some tough decisions this year, as everybody knows, and we will have to non-renew some people,” Grimes warned.

Grimes says they’ll probably eliminate all of their locally funded teacher units, which means about a dozen classroom jobs will be lost. He says they’re also looking for other areas to cut. He says they have to, in order to keep the school system afloat.

“We’re going to have to increase our revenue some way and that may have to be through tax dollars.”

Grimes says at some point in time, the county is going to have to explore the option of calling for a referendum to raise property taxes in order to keep schools open.

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