Guntersville residents vote down property tax hike for new high school

A yes vote would have meant a new $43 million Guntersville High School.

Posted: May 11, 2021 7:36 PM
Updated: May 11, 2021 10:25 PM

Guntersville voters said "No" to a property tax hike that would have funded a new $43 million Guntersville High School.

"The work that's done in that facility and it's done every day is a testament to those employees," said Dr. Jason Barnett, incoming Guntersville City Schools Superintendent.

Right now, hundreds of students walk the halls of Guntersville High, built in 1971. Incoming Guntersville Superintendent Dr. Jason Barnett explained that some rooms don't have windows, and some are just too small.

"Good, hands-on learning opportunities, it really is a challenge in the layout of that facility," said Barnett.

Dr. Barnett isn't the first superintendent to head the effort to build a new high school. Before it can happen, the city of Guntersville needed to vote yes Tuesday. That did not happen. He told us Tuesday night that they are reviewing their options for going forward. 

The final tally was 571 in favor of the tax hike, 795 against. Some voters told us outside the polling location that they want a new high school, but want it paid for another way.

"We'd be better off just to raise money for the new school. I'd be more than happy to donate," said Rick Cotten.

Had it been approved, the property tax would increase by 7.5 mills. That would translate to a $75 increase for $100,000 property worth.

"I think it would be good if everybody could help out with that," said Carolyn Allison, Guntersville resident.

We spoke with Allison, who lives next door to Guntersville High and had 4 grandkids and 3 children attend the school. She says they loved their time there and will be sad to see the campus go.

Plans were for Guntersville High school as it stands now to eventually become a courtyard for the new building. A sales tax raise was approved back in 2019 by the Guntersville City Council. The superintendent at the time said that the raise wouldn't be enough to fund a new high school.

Results of the 2021 Special Election for Ad Valorem Tax Increase

Posted by City of Guntersville, Alabama on Tuesday, May 11, 2021
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