Hamilton city officials have unanimously commissioned a study to analyze the feasibility of creating a city-run education system and splitting ways with the Marion County School System, which currently operates all schools in the county outside of Winfield.
The step taken during a meeting on Monday, June 7, is just a study, but it does send a message. One, there is a strong and shared desire among Hamilton residents to support their local schools. Two, Hamilton believes its schools have a higher potential.
This isn’t a new belief or sentiment. There has been talk for decades about how Hamilton does not receive back in funding what it contributes in taxes and enrollment numbers. In 1992, there was a move to establish a Hamilton city school district. To the best of our knowledge, that initiative was smothered due to push-back from county and state opposition. But evidently, 30 years later, that ember has never died and has been smouldering. In the back of the minds of Hamilton residents, they are likely eyeing the city school systems in Winfield and Haleyville and the amenities afforded to them and opportunities available for their students.
Hamilton’s message is not controversial, it’s the means. If creating a city school means having to raise sales or property taxes, it may be unpopular enough among Hamiltonians themselves that the idea is put to bed again. This will all hinge on the results of this feasibility study.
Outside pressure will likely also be a factor. Many believe pulling out of the county system will inevitably mean consolidation of the remaining county schools. This means this story has huge implications for Bear Creek, Brilliant, Guin and Hackleburg.
We will be anticipating the results of this feasibility study and are curious to see how this story unfolds.
See complete story in the Journal Record.