School leaders say Gulfport bond issue is needed

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - The slogan is simple: Say "yes" to GHS.

That's the message supporters of a proposed school bond issue in Gulfport are sharing.  If approved by voters on May 27, Gulfport will build a new high school.

"Gulfport High is a 1965 building. It's old. We need to do some things with it," said Gulfport Schools Superintendent Glen East, as he explained the process of how the bond issue came about.

The $41.2 million bond issue would provide the funds to build a new Gulfport High.

"How confident are you in your financial projections?" asked Supervisor Kim Savant during a meeting Tuesday morning where school leaders discussed their plans with various community representatives.

Conservatively, the bond issue would cost an average taxpayer an extra $50 a year.

"As we're looking at Gulfport High School, you have old science labs, old computer labs. You have buildings that are even hard to wire for computers. And the idea is that we need to do this for the kids of the Gulfport School District, and make that change," said Superintendent East.

Peace of mind through increased security will be one of the selling points of the bond issue. The old high school has dozens of entry and exit ways. The new school will have just four controlled entrances.

"They'll have surveillance. We'll have some sort of visual log of who's on campus, who's leaving campus. So it gives a little more of a security factor. And that's really one of the things that caught my attention and brought me into it," said parent Tabari Daniels, who co-chaired the Excellence in Education committee that helped develop the proposal.

And approving the bond issue means more than building a new high school.

"We're going to add classrooms at Bayou View Elementary, Bayou View Middle, Anniston, Pass Road Elementary. We have those opportunities not only for the high school but also those schools right now that are busting at the seams," said Steven Warren, the vice president on the Gulfport School Board.

With a plan in place, supporters will now help get the word out.

"This is 100 percent grass roots effort. It's going to be word of mouth, it's going to be the reputation of our district that will sell this," said committee co-chair Bryan Caldwell.

The vote is on May 27. The proposed bond issue requires a "yes" vote of 60 percent for approval.

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