Letter to the Editor: Key campaign issue facing Hoover voters is leadership

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One real problem

Yes Hoover needs leaders with critical thinking skills and those who can think strategically. As voters it's up to us to throughly vet the candidates and VOTE for those who can create the best long term vision and plan for our great city. However, until we get an elected school board the blame game and finger pointing will continue and school system leaders caught in the middle. The Board must be held accountable. Our schools should be funded by property taxes not sales taxes and IF more money is needed it's the Board who should be bringing forth the proposal and rationale for getting such on the ballot for the citizens to decide. Increasing the sales tax is not the answer. Finally, it's good to see the interest and debate in this election, just remember, we can disagree without being disagreeable.

Mike more than 3 years ago

Reality based on facts

Who in the world wrote this comment????? Are you serious????? Look at the facts folks!!!!!

City has had INCREASING revenue every year. Not too hard to not run a deficit under those circumstances!!!! Wow that's hard.

The schools have had funding DECREASED significantly from many sources but primarily from our city "leaders". In addition the city "leaders" continue to increase the school district's costs by approving new building and that brings additional students. Let's see.....decreasing revenue, increasing costs, and no way to raise additional revenue. Hmmmm sounds like fiscal mismanagement to me....not!!!! City leaders vote to increase EVERY other budget item EXCEPT school funding. So every other department needed and deserved more funding but not the schools??????

Do some research before you comment trying to equate two totally different situations.
It's sad that this is portrayed as "holding the city hostage". Seems like it's a group of school leaders trying to support our children and their education. NO ONE needs to be criticized for over spending at the school district. City leaders need to look in the mirror to see where the problem lies.

Dennis Quirk more than 3 years ago

Read up on the history of the school funding

Please read up on the history of the school funding. The schools used to get approximately 12 million dollars a year. When Jefferson County gave the Hoover school system a ONE TIME influx of money, the then city council and mayor cut the city's portion of the school funding down to something like 1 million dollars. Makes sense while the other money is there. But it seems to me there was NO PLAN in place to replace the city's portion of the funding once the Jefferson County money ran out. That is where we are now. The funds were bumped back up to 2 million not long ago, but this is still a far cry from what the city provided before. Everyone, even those without children in the school system, need to understand that where the Hoover Schools go, so does the city. No one moves to Hoover for the SEC championship or a Sportsplex. They move to Hoover for the great school system. It effects EVERYONE's property values. And the city has let an enormous amount of new housing to be built recently and there are literally thousands more homes in the works right now. You cannot sufficiently fund for all these new students without an increase in what the city provides. For pete's sake, at least put the funding back to where it was before it was cut.

Concerned Resident more than 3 years ago

One simple question

Where does the 5 to 10 million dollars that these people want to be given to the school board come from? Let me tell you...I have asked a few of the candidates running on this platform directly and they either have no idea or they plan on raising taxes. I am not just assuming this. This is the exact answer I received.

SU more than 3 years ago


I don't think you have looked into all the candidates. Curt Posey, for example, suggests drawing funds from some of the long term capital planning. For example, line #1 on the CC current capital plan allocates 3.5 million dollars for the purchase of Old Berry High School. That money is there right now and clearly no longer has a purpose. There are other similar cuts that could provide a short term solution. Long term ideas could then be worked out. But a 1 cent raise in sales tax would provide the city with an enormous cash flow, much of which would come from folks who don't even live in Hoover. That's a win to me.

Delle Kincaid more than 3 years ago

Simple question

And when I have asked in an online forum, I was blocked, and one of the challengers would repeatedly say to others " I'll answer that question in a pm"
Hah, is it not a question that can be responded to openly?

Scott more than 3 years ago

No change needed

I support mayor Ivey

Ronald in Bluff Park more than 3 years ago

The School Board is the problem

Why is the Mayor being singled out for these attacks? The School Board is responsible for budgeting and fiscal management of the Hoover City Schools, not the Mayor or City Council.

The lack of Fiscal discipline by School Board is the real issue.

All of these attacks against the current City Council have the same refrain "The schools need more money" but that money has to come from somewhere.

It's going to come from new taxes or be pulled from the budget of Police, Fire and Public Works.

There is no endless treasure chest of funding available.

Based on how the School Board has handled their budgets over the past 10 to 15 years they have a spending problem, not a funding problem. In 2007 the School Board received 85+ Million dollars from the Jeffco Education Bond issue. They had 150+ Million in the fund for 2007 , but they continue to overspend every year.

This election cycle, play close attention to the candidates who say they want more money schools because that either means higher taxes or fewer city services.

JB more than 3 years ago

Well said

I agree. If these pro school people want an instant 5 million, then public works, police and fire, and library will suffer. School system needs to better coffers of their money they have now

Carson more than 3 years ago

Missing the point

You are clearly only looking at one side of the issue. The city and school system are interrelated. The city has approved housing developments that have caused a significant increase in the student population. More kids=more money necessary to educate them. In this case the city dramatically cut funding and kept it low while increasing enrollment.

Cris more than 3 years ago

Housing develpments

Actually, the city does take the impact into consideration on EVERY new housing development. The city and the school system look forward and anticipate the number of students on all property that has potential for development.

SU more than 3 years ago

Still missing the point

I know the city anticipates the increased student enrollment from new development they just don't care about how that impacts the school system. If they did they would have a set per student annual amout and increase funding based on the projected increased enrollment.

Cris more than 3 years ago

City Council deserves part of the blame

I moved to Hoover from out of state last July so I am still learning about the area. But my observations are:

1) If the school board is having budgeting problems, part of the blame rests with city council since they appoint the school board.

2) According to district documentation, revenue per student has declined approximately $2400 over 8 years....at ~ 13,000 students, that is $31 million less per year (in purchasing power) than 8 years ago...about 1/5 of the current total school budget.

3) Expenditure per student is only slightly above Mountain Brook and Vestavia Hills and less than Homewood. Busing is expensive...meaning less dollars are getting into the classroom compared to the other communities.

4) I'm new to the area, but everywhere else I have lived....property values are directly related to the quality of schools. To paraphrase the superintendent, "the community needs to decide what kind of school district they want Hoover to have."

Nate more than 3 years ago


JB, either you are extremely nieve or the Mayor's campaign manager, perhaps both.

Hoover City Schools are appointed by the City Council. Look at who gets appointed versus the quality of applicants!

Hoover City Schools doesn't have the privilege of surplus money coming into the City like the City of Hoover. There funds come from property taxes, the State, Federal Govt (5%), and the City of Hoover. The State has cut its funding - how is that mis-management?

A 23% increase in enrollment and a 22% reduction in funding. They have had an operating deficit the last four years and pulling money out of their surplus to cover it. It is not sustainable.

Hoover High is getting portable classrooms. Teacher/Student ratios are increasing as teachers have not been replaced.

I would rather the City not have new side walks all over the place and fund the schools instead. You want to talk about the schools mis-spending money? An $80m dollar sports park with ANY feasibility study, ANY traffic study and LOTS of donations from builders to Mayor Ivey's campaign.

On behalf of all property owners in Hoover and parents with kids in the City School System - you are part of the problem.

Steve more than 3 years ago

Personal Attacks are an attempt to hide the truth

Hoover has outspent its funding sources for 7 of the past 8 years.

"The school system’s expenditures exceeded revenues by $6.6 million in 2008, $14.1 million in 2009, $8.5 million in 2010, $9.6 million in 2012, $10.2 million in 2013 and $7.9 million in 2014."

And they ran a projected 6.4 Million dollar deficit in 2015, with another deficit projected for 2016.

When you spend more than you take in, for 7 out of 8 years, it is the definition of Fiscal Mismanagement. The City of Hoover doesn't have a record of deficit spending, in fact it is the City's Fiscal prudence that allows them the low cost financing to build sidewalks and the SportPlex.

The School budget cannot hold the rest of the City hostage.
We cannot sacrifice Police, Fire and Public Works in order to keep up with the School overspending. The Schools MUST learn to spend less, plain and simple.

Those sidewalks you are against serve all residents, and the school kids who use them.

Hoover spends $12,000+ per student per year (based on the 2015 budget and 40 day count estimate).

You can send your kids to any of the local private schools for far less than what Hoover spends per student.
Briarwood's highest tuition rate is $8025 per year for 9-12, it's cheaper in the lower grades.
Shades Mountain Christian is about $6500 per year (website is offline)
Hoover Christian is less than $4500 per year, even for High School.
John Carroll Catholic High is less than $8000 per year.

How can these schools manage to operate on so much less per student than Hoover?
They keep the personnel expenses in line.

By the School Board's own reporting, the district personnel budget is 86% of the current expenditures and is 220 people over the state's own certified employee calculations. (See the Board's July 2016 financial release).
Steve, As a property owner with school kids in Hoover, I'm not part of the problem. Unless you have a problem with the truth. As a Hoover graduate, I have nothing but praise for the teachers in the classroom. My issue is about asking for additional money for those have a track record of spending more than they have.

Here are some references for those who care to read the facts.
Hoover Board Financial Presentation July 2016:
Reference article for 2015 Budget: http://www.al.com/news/birmingham/index.ssf/2014/08/hoover_school_officials_chip_a.html
Reference Article for 7 out of 8 years of Deficit Spending:
Tuition Links:
Briarwood Tuition: http://briarwoodchristianschool.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Schedule-of-Charges-2016-17-with-financial-policies.pdf
John Carroll Tuition: http://www.jcchs.org/apps/pages/index.jspuREC_ID=428698&type=d&pREC_ID=939959
Hoover Christian Tuition: http://brakeworth22.adventistschoolconnect.org/article/11/tuition-and-fee

JB more than 3 years ago

City versus School


You are seriously comparing how the City runs its budget to the schools??

The City has been kncreasjngbits revenues every year benefiting from more people moving to Hoover and spending money SALES TAX in Hoover.

Meanwhile, Hoover City Schools gets more CHILDREN in the schools that COST money and create even more STUDENTS per teacher. Where does the funding come to pay for it???

If you say the State, they CUT funding.

Since you seem to know budgets, what expenses would you cut JB? You allege that you have kids in school. Congratulations, you are the first person I have met that has children in the Hoover School system advocating more cuts. The rest of us have seen how bad the cuts are impacting our children. The Dad's Brigade got a first hand look at schools that haven't been painted since 2001 because of no money.

You sound just like the Mayor who keeps saying public safety will suffer if money is diverted to schools. He is doing nothing more than a scare tactic.

Hoover has the money. Every year our revenues have increased and so has every department EXCEPT the ridiculous $84 per child donation from the City of Hoover.

Steve more than 3 years ago

Private to Public is an Apples to Oranges Comparison

You can't compare private schools to public schools. Public schools educate everyone not just the ones that can afford private school. In my opinion, a good quality education is a right not a privilege.

But since you brought up the private schools tuition....lets break that down.

Briarwood: $8025 tuition for HS but you didn't include fees: Capital improvement fee: $550, and a returning school fee of $350 to $650....so the amount is more like $9000-$9500.

Now, consider no busing (I'm assuming....I don't know) is provided and the Hoover busing cost is ~ $1500 per child...your at about $11000.

Other considerations: We don't know how much Briarwood Church contributes to the support of the school or facilities. The nice thing about public education is the financials are more transparent. Its harder to break down the cost for a private school because you don't know what the real cost is (due to donors, church contributions, etc.). Its much cheaper to maintain one building/facility than a distributed system of schools due to the transportation costs associated. Not to mention, I assume the Hoover city schools pick up a larger portion of the free/reduced lunches for their students.

If you took the Hoover $167,000,000 budget, multiple by 69% it says it spends on instruction and divide by 14,000 you are at approximately $8200 which is in line with the private tuition.

Yes, perhaps Hoover may spend too much on sports (and the city as a whole), but instruction costs seem to be similar to a private setting.

Nate more than 3 years ago


Briarwood and the community are provided funding for the physical facility, etc.

So the total cost is above the tuition quoted:


Nate more than 3 years ago

Time for Change

I voted for the property tax increase the first time thinking that it was in addition to the current city funding, only to find it was a bait and switch deal. The second time I voted out of necessity. Hoover wanted a school system and had a good one, now current leaders don't have the commitment to education - maybe football, but not education. Gary Ivy and the others may good people, but they have not shown any leadership on this issue. I was at some of those council meetings and our concerns fell on deaf ears. It's time for a change for responsive leadership. My children are out of Hoover schools and I am grateful. we are done. Nonetheless, I will continue to support Hoover education because it is critical for the future of all!

Craig Greer more than 3 years ago

Change in landscape and city profile

I believe mayor Ivey is doing a fine job. Here's a solution if you think school funding is an issue. The school system has too many in enrollment as to the city's size. Too many multi-family dwellings are to blame. Let the city continue giving 2 million a year and have the city purchase some of these multifamily dwellings over the next 10 years, mainly along and near Lorna Road and Tyler Road. Make said properties into parks, and multiuse condo shopping much lime what is. Wing built in Vestavia and Mtn Brook.

Jones more than 3 years ago

Thanks for making my mind up

At first when I read this 'letter to the editor" I thought, why yes they do have point. After seeing the authors of the letter my thoughts towards Ivey are becoming stronger. One of the residents, Steve Lawernce went off on a bashing rant on one of the candidates. It was very childish and immature of what he did. This really gave me negative association with the candidate he supports and the ones he opposes. Thank you Mr. Lawernce for helping me make up my mind in this year's election.

Al more than 3 years ago

Need for school financing

You may want to take a look at Dr. Murphy's financial presentation she presented at the last BOE meeting. We have $86 million in reserves, down $80 million from where we were in 2007. In addition, due to poor leadership and financial planning prior to Dr. Murphy, we have a series of loans/bonds that must be repaid that exceed what we have currently in reserves by 40 million. In short, we are very much in the red and continuing to bleed. Dr. Murphy has been exceptionally transparent with the financial situation and our need for additional funding from the city. At what point is Mayor Ivey going to listen? I don't currently feel our city leadership is being a good steward of my tax dollars. I didn't move to Hoover for the SEC Baseball championship. I moved to Hoover so my children would have the best education in the state. Teachers and programs are being cut left and right. Technology is being withheld. Facilities are in need of repair. It is unacceptable. Unless Mayor Ivey can come up with a new plan/vision for our city funding then I do not believe I will be able to give him my vote. And any voter who owns property in Hoover should feel the same. The community goes the way of the schools. Period.

Delle Kincaid more than 3 years ago

Don't let the door hit you in the reae

90 Million in reserves. Sounds like school system is in fine shape. They just cannot manage day to day expenditures. Parents should quit belly aching, if you don't like the way the school system or city is run then move out to another city

Stevie more than 3 years ago

BOE Meeting

In regard to reserves of HCS, plesse attend the BOE meeting on August 08, 2016 for clarification.
For HCS to maintain a high quality educational peogram, meeting the educational needs of the students, there must be a significant increase in funding from the City of Hoover.

Dan Fulton more than 3 years ago

Don't wake the bear

Mismanagement of money is main problem of the finances if you cannot manage month to month with income coming from taxes and should be grateful that the city gives 2 million. be happy with what you get and don't bash current leadership.....never bite the hand that feeds you.

Steve from shades valley more than 3 years ago

Shared Responsibility

Although I agree that our previous leaders did not manage our funds well, that is not the sole source of the financial issue. Poor city planning has also lead to a huge increase in enrollment as well as a single corridor of multi family dwellings that are causing the school system to undergo federally mandated rezoning attached to a desegregation order. You cannot in good conscience place the blame on a single entity. Conversely, you cannot look for a solution from a single entity as well. We NEED the BOE and the CC to be actively working together at all times to support our school system. Mayor Ivey and the current CC (save John Greene) have failed is in this regard. That is why I feel new leadership is an immediate need.

Delle Kincaid more than 3 years ago

It's called voting

When you don't like the way it's run, you vote, you shouldn't need to move. Having a voice should not require a move.

Geri more than 3 years ago

We did!

I did. Our daughter is going to private school. Btw, schools affect your property, you should be concern about that.

Honest more than 3 years ago

$175m Debt

The Hoover Schools cannot increase funding on its own. A 23% increase in enrollment while dealing with a 22% reduction in funding. The City under Ivey's leadership has funded $2,000,000 a year MINUS the $850,000 they charged the Hoover City Schools. That is exactly $84 per child the City of Hoover funds for education. Every major department in the City has seen increases as the City's revenue has increased EXCEPT for Hoover City Schools.

Those are the facts. If you value this community and your property values, the. you will vote for anyone other than Mayor Ivey.

First it was, Mayor Ivey had never been asked for more money by the schools, which is a lie.

Then it was, the school system has mis-spent its funds. While Hoover approved almost every development that brought kids into the school system without a dime more.

Then it was, the City has to take care of its own debt. The City can't broke paying off the school board because it had its own debt to worry about. That argument went out the window as Ivey Sportsplex and its $80m new debt was added.

Now, its Mayor Ivey saying the school system is fine. They have $90m in reserve, which is more than the City. Only the school board is sitting in $175m debt. It cannot increase its revenue because property taxes are almost maxed out, the State has cut money to schools, and our wonderful Mayor gives $1,150,000 year net from the City or $84 per child. The school board has been pulling money from the $90 to pay for its operating costs.

Why does Mayor Ivey hate schools? Almost all the leadership has been replaced and yet he STILL won't agree to do anything.

It is time for a change!

Steve more than 3 years ago

Hoover Sun