Harrison County, MS (WLOX) -The Harrison County School District is asking voters to approve a $55 million dollar bond issue.
The issue will be on the Nov. 6 ballot, and only Harrison County voters living within the school district will vote on it. Two new schools and a host of upgrades and changes to existing schools highlight the issue.
Most of the attention regarding the Harrison County School District’s proposed $55 million dollar school bond is focused on the construction of a new K-8 school on the east side of the district and a middle school on the west side. The district insists the two schools are needed to alleviate overcrowding.
Included in the plan is a move to turn North Gulfport Middle School into a K-8 facility.
Former Principal Charles Dubra supports the concept, saying it creates a neighborhood school.
“The elementary school students in this area are now being bussed to Lyman Elementary, Orange Grove Elementary and Harrison Central Elementary,” Dubra explained. “With the new change, they will be able to stay right here in this same area.”
Included in the bond issue is a commitment to enhance safety and security at some of the older schools in the district.
That’s important to parent Eric Simmons, who uses Three Rivers Elementary as a prime example of the need to make changes.
“The greatest need I see is security. As you can see, in this school here, you can walk straight through the door. If you don’t want to stop in the office, you don’t have to you,” Simmons said. “You can go to any classroom you want. These rooms are full of kids from kindergarten to 6th grade that are vulnerable with no protection from security. If we can secure all the schools, to me price doesn’t matter.”
While the bond issue is complex and has a lot of moving parts, the Harrison County School District insists upgrading schools and building new ones to meet a growing population is critical to maintaining a modern environment for students.
“We have to make sure our children are educated to the nuances of a society today,” Dubra said.
Harrison County will hold four informational meetings leading up to the vote on Nov. 6. Residents will have the opportunity to express concerns and ask questions.