CullmanTimes.com - Cullman, Alabama

October 24, 2012

Protecting local education


The Cullman Times

CULLMAN — Cullman County voters will have more than a president to consider on Nov. 6.

An amendment will be on the ballot that proposes to officially give control of hundreds of acres of land to the Cullman County school system. The property was actually set aside by federal law for school use in 1785, but somehow through the years the local school system was unable to take advantage of the original intent for the property.

All that changed with the arrival of Billy Coleman as superintendent of county schools and an agreeable Gov. Robert Bentley.

Coleman is astutely looking at the property as a long-term investment for county schools. The value of the property, particularly the 435 acres along Smith Lake, could provide money for the public school system long after this generation passes.

Realizing the potential of the land, Coleman also recommended at a recent meeting that a board should be established to ensure that future superintendents and school boards honor the proposal to put 80 percent of the funds in a trust to draw interest for local education needs. Coleman’s idea needs to be acted upon after the amendment is approved.

The first step in providing lasting funds for county schools is to approve the amendment on Nov. 6. This will rightfully give the local schools and community control of the land and, ultimately, the money.

Once that vote is accomplished, serious attention needs to be paid to the idea of protecting the land and money from political tampering. The fact that the state has relinquished its hold on the land after so many years is a blessing for Cullman County schools. Protecting the future of the land and the revenues it can yield is an act that deserves support, too.