Motions filed in the Madison City Schools and Limestone County funding clash

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LIMESTONE COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT)-  It's a complex situation with a lot at stake. Madison City School leaders claim $1.7 million is being withheld from their schools.

Yet state law, county lines and policy, say differently.

It’s a financial battle between Limestone County, Madison City and Huntsville, Athens and Madison County Schools. The clash is over tax distribution and Madison schools are suffering as a result.

It's a fluid situation, in fact Friday two motions were filed in the case. In one motion taxpayers are seeking to intervene and have their voice be heard. Another motion is from Madison and Huntsville schools in an attempt to settle the property tax issue outside of the courtroom.

But one thing's certain, Limestone County Commission doesn't have a say in the issue.

"I'd just like for everyone to know that the Limestone County Commission has absolutely no authority, no governing authority over the matter in one way or another," explained Limestone County Chairman, Mark Yarbrough.

Madison City Schools Superintendent, Dee Fowler, reports for the 1,800 kids in living in Limestone County and Madison City the district is missing $1.7 million in property and sales taxes and TVA monies.

"We are not holding anybody’s money at the Limestone County Commission because we don't have it, we don't disperse it," said Yarbrough.

By law the 2 cent sales taxes are to be distributed between Athens City Schools and Limestone County Schools.

"They cannot be reversed unless there is a referendum done and voted on by the people county wide," said Yarbrough.

The property tax is tied in litigation. Friday a motion was filed to allow four parties living in Limestone County, Madison City, to be represented as taxpayers. They state that they want their money to follow where their children attend school.

Currently there are nearly $27,000 for Huntsville City Schools and $436,000 for Madison sitting in escrow.

Superintendent Dee Fowler states Madison schools are facing program cuts without a resolution, both in maintenance and technology.

However, a resolution will require changing a state constitutional amendment, getting five school systems on the same page, amending local law and TVA redistribution. It's a tall order for crossing county lines.

"We hope it's resolved so we can move on past this,” said Yarbrough. “And it's resolved to the satisfaction of everyone. That's what we hope for."

Friday Madison City Schools and Huntsville City Schools requested to work on the property tax outside of the courtroom to save time and resources.

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