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PTA Prez talks taxes with parents

Alabama Parent Teacher Association President Katy Campbell traveled to Greenville this week to talk with parents of W.O. Parmer students about the upcoming vote on Gov. Riley’s tax plan.

Campbell told the assembled group that she has sent out hundreds of letters in support of the plan to parents over the past few months, and only received one irate caller.

&uot;The caller wanted to know why the PTA was getting involved in taxes?&uot; she said. &uot;I told my secretary to send her a copy of our legislative statement, which includes at the top of the list, ‘fair and adequate tax reform.’&uot;

Campbell said that item has been on the PTA’s legislative statement at least for the 22 years she has been a member of the Alabama PTA.

&uot;The PTA is concerned about taxes because parents pay taxes, and consequently, generate funds for our schools,&uot; she said.

Campbell informed the group that 51 percent of income taxes, about 31 percent of sales taxes, and only four percent of property taxes go to fund education.

&uot;The result is that those who can most afford to pay, pay the least amount of tax,&uot; she said. &uot;We are looking at developing a new tax structure that is fair to everyone and will bring additional income to education.&uot;

Campbell said that the new taxes are needed because of the $675 million shortfall in the state’s budgets.

&uot;One of the reasons is people aren’t shopping as much as they did three years ago, and they aren’t shopping because there aren’t as many jobs,&uot; she said. &uot;Hiring has been slow for the past three or four years. So there isn’t as much money in the education budget.&uot;

The PTA president said that although the money isn’t earmarked for education, $422 million will be a direct investment in education.

&uot;Education isn’t the only entity that will benefit,&uot; she said. &uot;The city and county governments will get $104 million.&uot;

Here’s how the $422 million for education will be spent:

N$35,000,000 will be used to pay librarians, counselors and assistant principals.

N$1,300,000 will be used as incentive pay for teachers to teach in low-income school systems.

N$20,000,000 will be used to pay principals.

N$28,000,000 will be used to bring schools up to SACS standards.

N$60,000,000 will be used to add five calendar school days to the school systems school year.

N$17,000,000 will be used for textbooks.

N$40,000,000 will be used to fund the Math Initiative.

N$70,000,000 will be used to fund the Reading Initiative.

N$120,000,000 will be used to fund the College Scholarship program.

N$31,000,000 will be given to local schools systems for area programs.

Campbell challenged the parents to consider the options offered by the tax plan.

&uot;Do we want to continue the way we are or do we want to improve our state?&uot; she asked. &uot;If we all do our part, and we tax people fairly, then we can take this state as far as it can go.&uot;