Chelsea releases results from feasibility study for new school district

Local News
Christmas Day
December 25 2021 12:00 am

CHELSEA, Ala. (WIAT) – The numbers are in for the results of a long-awaited feasibility study to see whether Chelsea can form its own school system.

They were presented at a special work session of the Chelsea City Council on Thursday night – the results of a study determining the cost of a new high school and the cost of launching a new district.

“Tonight, you saw a number of numbers presented, a lot of data, but it boils down to options that the community may want to look at,” Criterion Consulting representative Phil Hammonds said.

These are numbers the community has been waiting for since June 15 when the council first proposed the idea of forming a new school district.

A brand-new high school with all the bells and whistles – coming in at $82.14 million. Criterion Consulting also broke that down into options for a new high school without all the bells and whistles or simply major renovations to the current building.

“We got a lot of information to go through,” Chelsea Mayor Tony Picklesimer said. “The overall number of only needing 11 mills to form a school system is outstanding. That’s so much better than we had even hoped for.”

The mills—coming from your property tax. For a home in city limits that’s $200,000, costing you anywhere from $440 to $660 extra tax dollars a year.

“We will need 11 mills to cover the difference between the projected expenses and what will come from those four revenue sources and begin building that one-month reserve that is required by the state board of education,” Picklesimer said.

But ultimately leaving the final decision up to you and what’s best for your family.

“The bottom line is a school system costs money to operate and you want to be sure you provide students with the best opportunities possible with as many opportunities that are there for a sound, quality education,” Hammonds said.

This is only the beginning of a marathon of steps to take place – council will be working over the coming months to educate the community about all the options that are detailed out in a 100 plus page report.

Picklesimer is hopeful to potentially take this to a vote by next summer, but wants to make sure the public is able narrow down the best options for the community.

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