UPDATE: The rally's location has changed from Vulcan Park and Museum to the Jefferson County Board of Education. The rally will take place at 7:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 19.
Hoover school board President Derrick Murphy is spearheading a rally of school board leaders across Jefferson and Shelby counties on Saturday in an effort to keep state tax dollars from being redirected away from education.
Murphy tonight said he has commitments from school board presidents in at least 13 other school systems to be at the rally at the Jefferson County Board of Education at 7:30 a.m. Saturday. School districts to be represented include Alabaster, Bessemer, Birmingham, Fairfield, Gardendale, Hoover, Jefferson County, Leeds, Mountain Brook, Pelham, Shelby County, Tarrant, Trussville and Vestavia Hills, Murphy said.
They are opposing efforts in the state Legislature to move $80 million in use tax revenue from the Education Trust Fund to the state’s general fund, which is projected to have a $200 million shortfall.
Murphy said he understands the need for legislators to find a fix for the general fund woes, but he and other school board leaders want them to find a way to do that without taking money from the Education Trust Fund.
School systems across the state have been hit with revenue declines and can’t afford to lose more money, Murphy said. “We can’t continue to take these hits every year and reductions in revenue,” he said.
Education represents the future of Alabama, Murphy said. “With the economy we have now, you’ve got to have an educated workforce to serve companies coming to our state,” he said.
All school systems are hurting, but particularly those that lack significant local tax revenue to help absorb cuts in state funding, Murphy said.
Vestavia Hills school board President Nathaniel Robin said there are other options that should be considered long before money from education is touched.
“I just can’t understand why really the education budget is even an option,” Robin said. “I’m just disappointed this is even on the table.”
The Jefferson County Board of Education is located at 2100 18th St S in Birmingham.