VANCLEAVE, Miss. (WLOX) - The Jackson County School District is moving forward with a bond proposal that would bring several upgrades to schools in Vancleave, St. Martin, and East Central.
The $67 million bond project was presented to the school board on Monday, detailing all of the upgrades and repairs the district is hoping to make. The district voted to approve the plan. Now, the proposal goes to the public for a referendum vote, which will require 60% support to pass.
According to the draft plan, the 20-year-bond project would cover various repairs and upgrades throughout the district, including several new construction projects. Those projects include new performing arts centers at East Central High and St. Martin High, a new multipurpose gym at St. Martin High, and a new gym/multipurpose center at Vancleave High.
“We have never had a performing arts center in the county so it’s for that student who is able to perform in a performing arts center and maybe it changes their life to go to college and get a a scholarship,” said Superintendent Dr. John Strycker.
Classroom and cafeteria expansions would also be done at some of the schools, including the band halls at multiple schools and several upgrades to athletic stadiums.
No matter where a child’s passion lies, the improved facilities are expected to better the educational experience.
”It has the whole child in mind,” said school board member Amy Dobson. “We are addressing everything across the district, from security to safety, to performing arts, to band, to athletics and classrooms. We have covered the entire gamut, and I appreciate it has taken the entire district’s input to get us to this point.”
School board officials believe the project will do wonders for the community.
”I think this is going to be a very transformational change for the Jackson County School District,” said District Chairman Troy Frisbie.
Dr. Strycker has worked diligently on the project for the last year and believes this will be good for the students and the teachers.
”It is all about the teachers and the employees,” said Dr. Strycker. “That’s what makes a good school district and that’s why we’re already an (A-rated) school district, although I don’t think anyone can downplay that facilities have a big part of it.”
A special bond election is scheduled to be held on May 18, 2021. Over the next week, the school board is expected to finalize how the bond will appear on the ballot in May.
If the proposed bond is passed in May, 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 Dr. Strycker.