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School leaders pushing for millage renewal

DEMOPOLIS &8212; The incoming and outgoing leaders of the Demopolis City Schools are united in their mission to have voters support a millage renewal during Tuesday&8217;s election.

The off-year election seems to hold little interest statewide, with two constitutional amendments being the only draw. But locally, Dr. Wesley Hill and Wayne Vickers believe the local millage renewal is of vital importance.

Vickers, who is taking over Hill&8217;s position, agreed wholeheartedly.

The vote Tuesday will allow voters in the city only to decide whether or not to continue paying a three-mill leverage for the schools. The millage was initially passed in 1977 and must be renewed every 10 years.

Hill said that it passed by approximately 70 percent in 1997, the last time it was up for renewal. The measure requires only a simple majority to pass.

The three mils generate approximately $300,000 each year for the schools. Hill and Vickers said the advantage to the local millage is that it can be used for any needs the district might have.

Hill said the money can be used for teacher salaries, special programs or supplies.

Hill and Vickers have been beating the pavement to drum up support, knowing that voter turnout will most likely be on the light side. Statewide, voter turnout for two constitutional amendments is expected to top out at the 20 percent mark.

As part of their efforts, they have run advertisements in local newspapers, talked with area business leaders and engaged the assistance of support organizations.

Jan McDonald, who serves as executive director of the Demopolis City School Foundation, said her organization has asked its members to support the measure and spread the word about its importance.

Polls open 7 a.m. Tuesday and close at 7 p.m.