NASD needs to focus on classrooms

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 26, 2017

Natchez-Adams School Board members chose to publicly discuss their plans to seek an additional 4-percent in taxes from county property owners one day after Tuesday’s school bond referendum.

We encourage district leaders to realize the message that sends to taxpayers is not a good one.

It reeks of waiting to disclose the “bad news” until after the vote that would have raised taxes even more, had it passed.

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School district leaders must realize that likely the majority of the people who voted against the bond issue are not enemies of the public schools. They don’t enjoy the idea of children attending school in subpar classrooms.

Instead, those voters are simply tired of paying more and more for what could be argued is the same product again and again.

Over the last several years, the school board has continued to raise taxes as allowed by law.

But beyond being able to gripe at a public hearing, voters can do little to stop it until the school district reaches a 55-mill cap. Currently the district’s millage is set at 53.05 mills, meaning the district is nearly at the end of its spending limit. It’s credit card privileges are maxed out.

While that cap will put an end to the ever-increasing tax burden, it will not do anything to improve the district’s results or improve the district’s credibility with voters. Both of which should be high on the district’s to-do list.

The solution to improving results is quite complex.

Improving the credibility is simple. Start by helping the public see exactly how the district’s funds are being spent. Then craft a budget that removes unnecessary administrative overhead and focuses resources on classroom spending and making much-needed repairs to infrastructure.