Guntersville residents to vote on property tax increase for new high school

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GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. – Guntersville residents will soon get the chance to vote on a property tax increase and the money would be used to build a new high school.

A special bond election was approved by Guntersville City Council on Monday.

Guntersville High School was built back in the 1960s and is no longer working for students, according to Interim Superintendent Ric Ayer.

“It was designed not to even have really a kitchen or cafeteria. They had to add that in later years because they were going to satellite food in,” explained Ayer. “The way this building was designed in terms of pods, it means none of the rooms are square, they’re all triangular, so you really don’t have a lot of usable space. They’re only 600 square feet to begin with and when you make that into a triangle, it really cuts your usable space out.”

School and district leaders are hoping to build a new $43 million school, but they need approval from the voters on a property tax increase to get it done.

Ayer told News 19 that if passed, property taxes would go up by 7.5 mills, which is roughly $75 a year for a house worth $100,000.

“We just need a better learning experience for our students. We’re doing a good job but we can do such a better job with a new building and adequate classroom space,” said Ayer.

While Deanna White told News 19 she is not against a new school, she thinks taxes in Guntersville are already high enough.

“I’m glad it goes to a vote and I’m perfectly happy to accept the results of the vote without any complaint but let the people decide and I’m just one of the people that think we pay enough taxes and it’s never enough,” said White.

Ayer told News 19 a new and improved high school would have larger core areas for potential growth, a full kitchen for the cafeteria, and modern amenities, like wider hallways, LED lighting, and better internet connectivity.

He said a new high school could also potentially benefit economic development by being an attractive bookend to the city. The new City Harbor development being the other bookend.

The special bond election will be May 11, 2021.

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