BREAKING NEWS One person injured in Columbus shooting Full Story
STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Residents of Mississippi city to consider $65M school bond

A day before more than 20,000 students return to school in Mississippi's second-largest district, residents will decide whether to approve a $65 million bond referendum.

Posted: Aug 7, 2018 10:11 AM

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A day before more than 20,000 students return to school in Mississippi's second-largest district, residents will decide whether to approve a $65 million bond referendum.

Supporters say reauthorizing property taxes that are otherwise set to expire will help repair aging schools in Jackson.

Sixty percent of votes cast by Jackson residents Tuesday must be in favor of borrowing for the referendum to pass, under state law.

The district already has the state's highest property tax rate. The 5 mills in question would be worth $50 for the owner of a $100,000 home. The taxes were approved by voters to support previous borrowing that has now been paid off, and if voters reject borrowing, taxes will fall.

Sharolyn Miller, the district's chief finance officer, tells the Clarion Ledger that the vote won't cause taxes to rise any higher.

Officials said the borrowing is needed to boost the district's accreditation status due in part to poor building conditions. A 2017 investigative audit cited the district for exposed electrical wires and poor drainage systems, among other issues. The district will have to make the repairs to be restored to good standing.

Last year, board members also voted to shut down four elementary schools, saying they were too costly to repair amid declining enrollment. Students also protested conditions at the district's schools during the 2018 legislative session.

"I've grown up attending schools where the structural integrity is questionable, where some bathroom stalls are empty because old pipes are hard to fix ... where you pray while walking up the stairs because the railing fell off," Murrah High School student Kaitlyn Fowler testified. "I've taken important tests in 60-degree classrooms and 90-degree classrooms. I've bought my weight in hand sanitizer because soap is rare."

Although there has been little vocal pushback to the idea that the repairs are needed, there has been some skepticism over what will happen with the funds.

City Councilman Kenneth Stokes requested that Jackson board members commit to completing projects that school officials listed as priorities.

The board created a bond oversight committee that'll have representation from each of the city's seven wards. Committee members will also receive updates of the bond's progress but will not have the ability to make bid decisions as they hold no voting power.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 91935

Reported Deaths: 2780
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds6903153
DeSoto532153
Harrison368771
Jackson334367
Madison318086
Rankin313473
Lee254066
Jones236078
Forrest231069
Washington215671
Lafayette203039
Lauderdale1984123
Bolivar177465
Oktibbeha173749
Lamar156633
Neshoba1524103
Panola140926
Sunflower138543
Lowndes138457
Warren136650
Leflore134380
Pontotoc120416
Pike120148
Monroe117665
Scott115925
Copiah115433
Coahoma110927
Holmes108458
Marshall106714
Grenada104535
Lincoln104453
Yazoo103429
Simpson100142
Union96524
Tate94537
Leake93535
Adams89135
Wayne87121
Pearl River84850
Marion83633
Covington79321
Prentiss78617
Alcorn75310
Newton74722
Itawamba74121
George73913
Tallahatchie73418
Winston71919
Tishomingo65035
Attala63625
Chickasaw63524
Tippah63516
Walthall58925
Clay56216
Hancock55420
Noxubee54015
Jasper53615
Clarke52538
Smith51714
Calhoun50612
Tunica47213
Montgomery45020
Claiborne44916
Lawrence42212
Yalobusha41314
Perry39016
Humphreys36915
Quitman3625
Stone34611
Greene33516
Webster32813
Jefferson Davis32211
Carroll30812
Amite30710
Wilkinson30117
Kemper28515
Sharkey25812
Jefferson2359
Benton2151
Franklin1863
Choctaw1775
Issaquena1033
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 128097

Reported Deaths: 2264
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson18648332
Mobile12949288
Montgomery8560170
Madison736573
Tuscaloosa7015112
Lee558259
Shelby550149
Baldwin502148
Marshall376342
Etowah326344
Calhoun321139
Morgan312925
Houston260621
Elmore247547
DeKalb230119
St. Clair218134
Walker217780
Talladega199925
Limestone191919
Cullman180017
Franklin172728
Dallas172526
Russell16912
Autauga162424
Lauderdale159231
Colbert157224
Escambia154324
Blount150413
Jackson146610
Chilton143325
Dale128042
Covington127027
Coffee12388
Pike11329
Tallapoosa112483
Chambers110642
Clarke104417
Marion91428
Butler90238
Barbour8097
Marengo69319
Winston68512
Lowndes64327
Pickens62214
Bibb6179
Hale60828
Bullock58514
Randolph58512
Lawrence57620
Monroe5708
Washington54513
Geneva5404
Perry5356
Wilcox52911
Cherokee52816
Clay5187
Conecuh51611
Crenshaw51531
Macon46619
Henry4524
Sumter41719
Fayette4128
Choctaw34212
Lamar3302
Cleburne3116
Greene29915
Coosa1573
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Clear
66° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 66°
Columbus
Clear
62° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 62°
Oxford
Clear
64° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 64°
Starkville
Clear
61° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 61°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather