Robertsdale, AL (WKRG)
Baldwin County’s superintendent of schools says they want to build new schools but they need to borrow more money to do it. A proposal in front of the Baldwin County Commission is asking for permission to borrow up to $60 million over four years for construction projects.
Central Baldwin Middle School is an example of the county school system’s pay-as-you-go school construction program. For now, they’ve only been able to afford additions to existing schools. Baldwin County Superintendent Eddie Tyler says they’d like to borrow more to have some new school construction over the next four years.
“If we didn’t have this, we would be limping along. Growth would just continue to grow because growth doesn’t care; it doesn’t care if we’re on a year-to-year or four years, people are coming to Baldwin County,” said Tyler. School officials did not talk specifics about where the new construction would happen. They said it includes seven to nine new or remodeled school projects. While county commissioners seemed generally in favor of the plan, the vagueness wasn’t sitting with Commissioner Tucker Dorsey who said he was more concerned with how well the school system was educating the kids.
“The output for education right now is not stellar,” said Baldwin County Commissioner Tucker Dorsey. “That is what I want to know, that’s the most important thing I’m here for, I don’t give a crap how nice the buildings look.” Parents I spoke with in Baldwin today generally supported the idea of more borrowing for construction.
“They should probably go ahead and do it and get all the buildings up to date,” said Leanne Nesenson. She has four children in the school system. Other parents had the same sentiment.
“They should because some of the schools are leaking in Baldwin County,” said parent Chris Gibbs. “In order to have good schools they probably need to do that.” The money comes from the penny sales tax the county commission made permanent a few months ago. School officials say this short-term borrowing would not be an additional burden on taxpayers. County commissioners indicated the item would be tabled until more questions could be answered. School officials say a construction plan will be revealed soon.