Is an $18M school bond being proposed in Stone County? Here’s what we know.

The school board has called a special meeting for January 3rd. District leaders are only saying it's a bond issue work session.
Published: Dec. 15, 2021 at 12:31 PM CST
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WIGGINS, Miss. (WLOX) - School board members in Stone County are planning to meet after the holidays at a special call meeting where sources say a proposed school bond will be discussed.

The issue appears to be one that has been in talks for months, first surfacing on the record at the Sept. 7 school board meeting. Board members voted to approve a contract with Eley Guild Hardy Architects, a company responsible for designing several buildings throughout Mississippi, including multiple academic facilities.

The approved resolution says the architecture firm was hired “to assist the District on various capital projects, which may include some projects funded with local resources.” The resolution continues, saying that Eley Guild Hardy will work on “potential projects funded by a proposed Bond issue: Approximately $18 million.”

Sources tell WLOX that the conversations center around building multiple schools on a property just off Highway 49. According to a property record search, the Stone County School District owns more than 73 acres in that area, which is west of Woodland Drive behind Venture Church.

If the district does make the decision to propose a school bond, the matter would then go on a ballot to be decided by voters in Stone County.

Stone County School District has four schools: Stone High, Stone Middle, Stone Elementary and Perkinston Elementary.

“It’s really a no-brainer to spend an extra couple of pennies to get this bond passed,” said Mayor Darrell Berry of Wiggins. “I went to high school here a long time ago and it’s actually the same school from when I was here.”

While it’s unclear exactly when the two elementary schools were constructed, Stone High was built before the current middle school. Stone Middle was originally built in 1955 as the Stone County Training School. It was later renamed Locker High School in 1959 and served as the African American school during segregation, according to a historical marker on the front lawn.

“I went to school at the high school fifty years ago,” said Perkinston resident Ronald Sims. “I’m sure that building has been there more than fifty years.”

The Stone County School Board will hold the special call meeting at 4:30pm on Monday, Jan. 3, 2022, at the district’s Professional Development Center.

WLOX has reached out to the Superintendent Inita “Penny” Owens to ask about the upcoming meeting but has not yet received a response.

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