It's a warning the voters ignored when rejecting a measure to raise the sales tax by half a penny in Shelby County.
"I think people feel economically challenged," said one voter. "Maybe that's why it didn't pass?"
Half of the estimated $60 million would have gone to the Unified School board to help fund the new school system. The board said it wanted to expand pre-K and make it universal with $15 million over a five-year period.
Tuesday's vote put the idea in limbo.
"We are going to look at everything because we are putting together a new system and have to look at all our options,' said Billy Orgel, Unified Schools board member.
The other option to erase a projected $60 million deficit for schools is another type of tax increase, but with strings attached.
"The county commission is going to require some commitments from the school board concerning pre-K," said Shelby County Commissioner Mike Ritz.
"the money is going to have to come from somewhere," said one voter. "The kids are our future. We've to do something for them."