VANCLEAVE, Miss. (WLOX) - Students in the Jackson County School District could soon be seeing some upgrades across the district if a proposed bond is approved by the community.
The potential improvements could cost $50 million to $60 million and would upgrade facilities, from classrooms and athletics to fine arts, at schools throughout the entire Jackson County School District.
To pay for the upgrades, the district is hoping to use a bond, which means an increase in taxes.
Jami Gerrigan is the mother of four children who attend school in the Jackson County School District. Gerrigan is not in favor of increased taxes but feels schools such as Vancleave Upper Elementary need to be upgraded.
“Nobody likes their taxes to be raised, I don’t, but I’ve been in the schools. I’ve been in the buildings. I went to school there. They’re kind of old,” Gerrigan said. “The Upper actually needs some updates. There’s a couple of buildings that have been there since my parents went to school up there, and they’re just really outdated and really needs improving for the kids.”
If the proposed bond is approved, property taxes could increase between $6 and $8 per every $1,000, meaning if you own a home with a tax assessed (10%) value of $150,000, you could see an increase in your annual property taxes between $90 and $120, according to Jackson County School District Superintendent, Dr. John Strycker.
“I’d rather have too much information than not enough because we need to be very conscientious of the tax dollars,” Stryker said. “We’re talking about people spending additional tax money. We need to make sure we do a good job and really do our homework.”
It’s homework that the school district continues to focus on by conducting a community survey of nearly 3,600 people. 52% of those surveyed said school facilities are not adequate. Stryker believes it is important to continuously hear from community members, teachers, and students who will be impacted by the potential project.
“The community can rest assured that we will be very transparent and we will make sure they understand how that impacts them and what projects will be done,” Stryker said. “We will be very transparent and very clear about that.”
The Jackson County School District plans to propose the multi-million dollar facility bond to the Board of Education by the end of February. If approved the public will then vote on the bond in May.