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franklin county times

School funding squabble continues

 

Russellville Mayor Troy Oliver defended the city council’s recent cut in school funding  during Monday’s regular meeting.
Three council members and Oliver passed the city’s operating budget during a special called meeting on Friday, Sept. 24. The budget capped the city’s allocation to the city schools at $1 million.
School officials argue that city voters long ago passed taxes that distributed 38.33 percent of the city’s three-cent sales tax to the school system.
“We have supported the schools financially with funding that has been unparalleled in the school and city’s history,” Oliver said in a prepared written statement handed out at the meeting.
Oliver contends that the one-cent sales tax passed by voters countywide in June, coupled with the city’s funding, will provide the system with more funding than they have had in the past.
“The city did reduce the estimated payments from our direct payment from our general fund by $400,000,” Oliver said.
“However, the funds raised from the one-cent sales tax paid through the county are generated by the city of Russellville. They are receiving more local funding than any other year in the school’s history. We cannot continue to increase funding the school system each year without affecting city services.”
City Councilman Jeff Masterson told Oliver that he realized the city did not have the money available to continue funding the schools at the past level, but he was upset that the council and mayor passed the budget before meeting with school officials. Oliver said Monday that he met with two school board members last week, but has not met with and does not plan to meet with Superintendent Don Cox.
“As a council, we should have met with the full school board,” Masterson said.“This us versus them attitude is hurting everyone in the community. We have all got to work together.”

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