Superintendent suggests new taxes needed to improve Dothan schools

A near capacity crowd at Beverlye Magnet School hears from superintendent on her plans to overhaul schools in this November 15, 2018 photo.
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Dothan (WTVY)-- Dothan's superintendent is steadfast in her opinion that changes must be made to move the city's public school system forward.

Not only does Dr. Phyllis Edwards stand by her suggestions on how to accomplish goals, she even hints a property tax increase may be needed to fulfill them.

“We just can't say we support public school system when we don't and it hasn't been supported for a long time,” Edward said Thursday during a school board work session.

Right now, though, Edwards has bigger fish to fry than a tax increase that she lacks authority to impose. With a school board vote on her ideas looming, pressure from opponents seems to be mounting.

Parent Mary Coleman is delighted with the education her children receive at Carver Magnet School but she's unhappy with the way the board is handling Edwards proposals. (This paragraph updated to reflect he children attend Carver.)

“There haven't been a lot of question and answer town hall type meeting which is what we're desperate for.” Her biggest beef, she said, is the superintendent's suggestions are void of details.

Among Edwards ideas---and board members aren't bound by them---are to close several schools, and retool others, including magnet schools though at least one facsimile would likely remain intact.

The idea of losing any magnet schools is the most polarizing and, this week, protesters gathered outside another board meeting to oppose getting rid of them.

Chairman Mike Schmitz said every reasonable effort has been made to listen to opinions of parents and those interested in public schools. He points out there have been meetings allowing public input, though that wasn't the case Thursday when Edwards only answered questions previously submitted online.

“I know this has been difficult but I want you to know that our heart is really to do what is best for your child,” he told about 200 attended a meeting Thursday.

Board members will vote on Edwards proposals November 26.