Madison City Schools Board of Education members discussing priorities ahead of municipal elections

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MADISON, Ala. (WHNT) - We're less than two weeks away from electing new leaders for our communities. In Madison, the school district is helping people understand how their votes could help the students.

"The Limestone County funding is our most critical issue," Board of Education President Terri Johnson said.

There are 1,800 kids living in Limestone County who attend Madison City Schools.

"The taxes that they're paying are being distributed to Athens City Schools and Limestone County Schools," Johnson said. "None of that ad valorem or sales tax that's collected for education is being distributed to Madison City Schools."

The Madison City Schools Board of Education is asking those on the city council to stop residential annexations from Limestone County until the tax issue is resolved. Otherwise, the homes on those properties put a strain on the school system because the schools are not receiving those tax revenues.

Another issue lies with money from the TVA. This year, Madison City Schools will receive just shy of $2,000,000 from the corporation, money based on the numbers of students in the system by county. Again, the problem lies in Limestone County.

"We're not receiving any TVA money for those students," Johnson said.

Another issue the school board members feel is a priority is the renewals of three ad valorem property taxes designated for education, and one ad valorem tax increase to pay for building an additional school one day.

Finally, they are still seeking a way to fund a practice facility for the Bob Jones and James Clemens High Schools swimmers. In September 2013, the school board put a natatorium on the Capital Plan to meet the needs of the teams. An agreement was approved by the city council and the board in November 2014 to provide a swimming facility for the students and the city. This is a plan that's been in the works for a few years, but has not happened yet.

"So, we're asking these city council candidates and the mayor to support and go forward with the pool," Johnson said.

School board members said they are not in a position to support any candidates.

"But, what we would like to do is have these candidates adopt our priorities as their priorities," Johnson said.

The district's PTA is hosting two candidate forums next week. The first one is in Bob Jones High School's Auditorium beginning on Monday at 6:00 p.m. This is for the city to get to know the city council candidates. Then, the Madison Mayoral Debate begins at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday at James Clemens High School.