From Shane Barnette: Cullman County’s new half-cent sales tax for facilities and safety

Cullman County Schools Superintendent Dr. Shane Barnette (Cullman Tribune file photo)

UPDATE: “The project has not been shelved. The schedule for the sports complex has not changed because there never has been a schedule. It is a dream project that I hope to see come to fruition down the road, but right now all of the systems’ resources are focused on improving our schools.” – Shane Barnette

Cullman County Schools Superintendent Dr. Shane Barnette released the following statement Wednesday morning regarding the new half-cent sales tax and multi-use sports complex (Project X)

First and foremost I would like to thank the Cullman County Commissioners (Garry Marchman, Kenneth Walker and Kerry Watson) for levying the sales tax that will benefit Cullman County Schools and Cullman City Schools.  Their leadership and dedication to all the students of Cullman County was demonstrated by this action and their confidence in the leadership of the two school systems was evident as well.  

While the primary focus for the use of this sales tax has been placed by some on the construction of a multisport/arts complex, this was never meant to be the focus.  Not one cent has been spent toward any such complex.  Even the renderings that were used at the press conference did not cost anything.  The board has not been asked to vote on anything besides the resolution to request the sales tax. It currently is still a dream that may come about someday, but not today. 

The true focus and purpose of the sales tax is to make much needed upgrades to the safety and security of our students on each of our existing campuses.  Also, to make the much needed facility repairs and upgrades on the current campuses.  Many projects and repairs that are scheduled for the future can now be addressed using this sales tax.  Currently, 100 percent of the sales tax will be spent on local campuses to better meet our safety and facility needs. 

Even though none of the funds have been collected yet, I have already set in motion with Sheriff Gentry the hiring of additional School Resource Officers, ordered fencing, and other safety related products and services.  Please know that 100 percent of these funds will go into a separate account so that we can report how they are spent at any time.  I promise you there will always be 100 percent transparency.

I am burdened many people were stirred up about the potential for a new complex. I am truly excited to move forward and get started addressing needs within the system.  These needs will include but are not limited to; asphalting, replacing some old buildings, fencing, updating & expanding some lunchrooms, updating HVAC, replacing & adding awnings where needed, and work toward providing more opportunities for our students through career tech and STEM.

This is truly an exciting time for Cullman County Schools and I hope that everyone will begin to notice the wonderful upgrades, repairs and additions on all of our campuses.

Thank you,

Shane Barnette – Superintendent Cullman County Schools