190827 Voting 1

Voters vote at Florence High School in the band room.[CAROLINE OGLESBY/ TIMESDAILY]

An 11-mill renewal tax for education in Lauderdale County passed in large fashion Tuesday, to the tune of 79 percent in the county and 77 percent in the city of Florence.

As a result, the Lauderdale County and Florence superintendents of education are breathing a whole lot easier today.

Tuesday's special election consisted of three separate taxes — a shared 1.8 and 5.2-mill and a 4-mill for each school district.

All together, the taxes that have been on the books at least since 1954, though some say longer, generate $5.8 million for Lauderdale schools and $3.9 million for the Florence  school district.

Courthouse officials said Tuesday's voter turnout was expectedly low, at 9.9 percent of the county's 64,412 registered voters.

Florence Superintendent Jimmy Shaw said the vote spoke to the value residents place on education.

"At the end of the day, people value the education their children receive and I believe this vote reflects that," he said. "I'm thankful."

Shaw watched results come in alongside Lauderdale Superintendent Jon Hatton at the Lauderdale County Courthouse Tuesday night.

Both were new to the renewal tax election process and said they didn't know what to expect.

"We know how important this money is to our kids and we just had to trust that the communities know it," Hatton said.

Both men praised their respective school board members and school system employees for getting the word out about the importance of Tuesday's election.

"We have quality schools because of the community's support, plain and simple," Hatton said.

Shaw said he was aware that there were opposing views to the education tax renewals, adding, "It's America."

The 11-mill tax is voted on via a 30-year cycle.

Lauderdale Schools operate on an annual budget of $82 million, while Florence's is $53 million.

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