In a few short weeks, yet another new school will open its doors in north Jefferson County.
Mortimer Jordan High School will be open when the new school year starts back Aug. 15. Within the past year and a half, two other new high schools have also opened in Corner and Gardendale. And further south, a state-of-the-art elementary school opened in Fultondale four years ago.
With the exception of Fultondale Elementary, all of the schools were built with funds collected in the form of a tax in Jefferson County in 2005. The city of Fultondale built its own elementary school, with an agreement from the Jefferson County School System that it would reimburse the city if and when the tax revenue was released following a court battle. It was released, and Fultondale got its money back, less the cost of preparing the site and doing other work on campus.
New schools are a tremendous asset to any city or town. However, there is always the question of whether the government should be in the business of building and operating schools. There are solid arguments on both sides, but one can easily argue that schools are a more worthy cause than some projects at which government throws money.
It’s an extreme understatement to say that Jefferson County has made less-than-wise decisions with our money. The Jefferson County Commission is scheduled to decide this week whether to go bankrupt or to settle with its creditors.
But it’s hard to get upset about taxpayers funding schools, which in turn benefits all of us. Even if a citizen’s family member never attends a good school in his city, the individual will benefit because schools foster a sense of pride in a community like few other things can. Schools can also foster a sense of loyalty to one’s hometown. They can be a reason families move to a city to live and work.
We’re proud that north Jefferson County has an abundance of new schools. There is hardly a more worthy cause than to invest in education.