About the Election
What: In December of 2012, the Auburn City Board of Education formally requested that an election be held for Auburn voters to consider a 9-mill property tax increase to fund the construction of a new high school in Auburn. The Alabama State Legislature authorized the election in the 2013 regular legislative session, and the Auburn City Council has set September 24, 2013 as the election date.
Why: Auburn City Schools has seen continuous growth for 17 years, and has been the fastest growing school district in Alabama for the last 5 years. Analysis of enrollment growth and available classroom space has shown the need for new facilities.
To keep pace with enrollment, Auburn City Schools has built four new elementary schools since 1998. The new school year will see the opening of the latest new school (Pick Elementary School) and a planned realignment of grades K – 5 to maximize classroom space.
Current projections show that classroom capacities will be exceeded for secondary schools in the 2015-2016 school year. Auburn City Schools has proposed a plan to realign grades 6 – 12 and build a new High School to provide adequate classroom and facility space to address this growth. This long-term plan also includes the renovation of aging facilities, including several of the elementary schools built in the 1950’s and the Auburn Junior High School, built in 1930.
To provide adequate classroom space for secondary students, additional local revenue is needed. Auburn City Schools is funded by a mix of Federal, State and local funding, with local funding derived from property taxes, supplemented by a $9.5 million annual allocation from the City of Auburn municipal government’s general fund. To construct and operate a new high school, Auburn City Schools needs an additional $8.5 million in annual revenue.
Cost | Benefit: According to the Alabama Department of Education, the City of Auburn is currently 24th in the state in school district millage rates and school expenditures per pupil are 45th in the state. Numerous studies, including a recent USA Today analysis, show that Alabama property taxes are among the lowest in the nation. A 9-mill property tax increase would cost the average Auburn homeowner approximately $16 a month, or $193 a year, based on the 2012 average home price in Auburn of $214,673.
100% of the funding provided by the proposed tax increase would go directly to Auburn City Schools to allow them to implement their plan to maintain adequate classroom and facility space for Auburn’s current and future school-age children.
School Quality: Auburn City Schools is accredited by the Alabama State Department of Education, the Southern Association of Colleges and schools, the Council on Accreditation and School Improvement and AdvancED, and has been recognized among the nation’s top public school systems. More than 68% of teachers and administrators in Auburn City Schools hold advanced degrees, including 16 doctorates. Auburn High School offers 20 Advanced Placement, college level courses and has been an International Baccalaureate World School since 1997. Auburn High School students consistently score above the state and national averages on the SAT and ACT. Auburn City Schools’ class of 2013 included 9 National Merit Finalists, 16 National Merit Scholars and earned $18.1 million in scholarships. In 2013, U.S. News & World Report named Auburn High School the #4 public high school in the state. Other nationally recognized local schools include Wrights Mill Road Elementary School, the Auburn Early Education Center and Auburn Junior High School.