COLUMBUS (WCMH) — The verdict is still out. Monday night the Columbus Board of Education tried to sell the NAACP on a school levy and bond issue that would raise property taxes by 10 percent.
NAACP members said the community wants to know exactly how their money would be spent.
NAACP Education Chair and mom of four Dr. Tina Pierce said making ends meet is tough for many Columbus families.
“Right now there is a large portion of our population that is struggling,” said Pierce.
In November voters will consider a 10 percent property tax increase to raise hundreds of millions for the district. Costing the owner of a $100,000 home an extra $242 a year.
“It will be a struggle for individuals to make this type of commitment,” said Dr. Pierce.
Mary Jo Hudson with the Columbus Board of Education said she knows it’s a sacrifice, but it’s worth the investment.
“It’s been eight years now and we do really need it,” she said. “Our children are our communities future.”
The money would go to buying new buses, repairing buildings, expanding early childhood education and placing more social workers and security in schools among other things. Hudson said the district is trying to be transparent.
“We now have a very robust financial review process, a robust internal audit process, a lot of this information is on the web.”
Pierce said the community just wants information and wants the district to keep its promises.
“I also know that in this community we believe in our children, we put our money where our mouth is,” she said.
The NAACP hasn’t officially endorsed or not endorsed the bond and levy issue. The last levy failed in 2013. That proposal raised property taxes by nearly 24 percent.