Auburn residents prepare to vote on tax for new high school - WRBL

Auburn residents prepare to vote on tax for new high school

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Conceptual plan for new high school on Samford Avenue Conceptual plan for new high school on Samford Avenue
Growth of students in Auburn City Schools in five-year increments Growth of students in Auburn City Schools in five-year increments
Auburn High School band members practice on the front lawn Auburn High School band members practice on the front lawn
AUBURN, Ala. -

Auburn residents are asking lots of questions before they go to the polls later this month to consider a property tax increase to fund the building of a new high school.

With 3000 more students in the district than 10 years ago, the Auburn City Schools system is growing fast. For around $79 million Auburn could have a solution to the growing population of students, at least that's the case school superintendent Dr. Karen Delano and school board president Matt Clegg made at a public forum.

Dr. Delano says, "Auburn High School, Auburn Junior High School, J. F. Drake Middle are all quickly reaching capacity. This growth requires a long-term solution, and not a series of short-term fixes."

The taxpayers are voting on a nine mill increase in property tax, which would mean homeowners pay $16 more in taxes per month, $150 a month for commercial properties. It would pay off the debt for the new school in 30 years.

"This money's not going to Washington," says Clegg. "This money is not even going to Montgomery. It's not even coming to City Hall. This is dedicated revenue to Auburn City Schools."

Residents are wary of voting yes, however. They're asking if there's any possible way around having to build an entirely new school, but the people who are feeling the impact of the overpopulation are the students.

"We need it because it's really crowded in our school, and I think it'll be a great solution for that," says Auburn High junior Leanna Flowers.

Her band mate Synclare Chenier adds, "When you're going through a hallway, there's people all around you. You're just squished together, it's just like oh my gosh! Get away...I'm claustrophobic right now. That's how I feel."

With a new school, the district has plans to reconfigure the grades each school serves. The new building would house 10th through 12th grade, and the current Auburn High School would change to 8th and 9th grade. The junior high school would service 7th graders, and Drake Middle would cater to 6th graders.

If residents vote yes, the school district plans to have the new facility ready for use by the 2017 school year.

Elections will be held Sept. 24. For more information, go to www.auburnalabama.org/elections.

Jessi Mitchell

Jessi joined the WRBL news team in October 2012 after working as a freelance production assistant for MTV Networks in Los Angeles.
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