Conversation briefly touched on the much debated city liquor tax at Monday night’s school board meeting.
Director of City Schools Dr. Martin Ringstaff suggested the city school system hire an attorney. He reported the Bradley County School system hired attorney Jimmy Logan to represent their case.
He said the city school system is unable to use attorney Chuck Cagle as he is the attorney for both school systems.
“Concerning the liquor sales tax from within the city limits, they all the sudden feel they get a portion of that tax,” Ringstaff said. “We obviously don’t feel that they do.”
Financial officer Brenda Carson reported the school system receives on average $8,000 from the city liquor tax every month. The total yearly accumulation is about $96,000.
He said hiring an attorney would be a step toward protecting those funds.
Board member Richard Shaw pointed out the law states cities with their own K-12 school system are not required to share liquor sales tax money with a county.
“So what is the problem?” Shaw asked. “I don’t understand why it is an issue, if that is the law.”
Board Member Dr. Murl Dirksen said he was not in favor of hiring an attorney.
“I think it will be handled by the city government,” Dirksen said. “I think [City Manager Janice Casteel] and the Council will be able to pursue this.”
Dirksen continued “Everything I read has been very clear the law is on our side.”
He said he did not want the school system to spend money on an attorney as it looks like the services will not be needed.
The Cleveland Board of Education requested Ringstaff stay on top of the discussion.
“I think we just need to look at it for a while, stay on top of it, be informed and see where this thing goes,” Dirksen said.
Board members agreed to try and be present if the Bradley County school representatives speak at a City Council meeting.