Rankin County residents voted "no' to a $170 million school bond issue. Nearly 40% voted for the bond issue, while just over 60% voted against it.
Money from the bond would have been used to add buildings and facilities to Rankin County schools. The vote has many disappointed, while others are breathing a sigh of relief.
DeMarcus Wright voted in favor of the school bond issue. He's surprised to hear the bond didn't pass. Wright says, ''When it comes to the kids and education, and given the fact that we are not the best state when it comes to education, certain sacrifices should be made.''
Money from the bond would have been used to build three new schools, improved classrooms and new athletic facilities for Rankin County's growing student population. School board president Ann Sturdivant says the board will now have to re-evaluate where to find additional space.
Sturdivant says, ''That's a real problem because there's a couple of our schools that are so overcrowded and there's not even room for any more portables."
Rankin County taxpayers would have had to pay around sixty dollars a year on a $100,000 home for the multi-million dollar bond.
Rankin County school board trustee David "Grumpy" Farmer says, ''Today's economy is tough, people are looking for jobs, Rankin County is no different than any other place in the country.'' Farmer doesn't think the bond would have been good for the county. He questions the $60 a year tax increase and says the district has more wants versus needs.
Farmer says, "We need to look at adding on instead of building more, when you build more you increase your overhead and today that's a struggle for us.''
A bond is the only way Rankin County could add more space for its students; part of that reason is because operational funds from the state and federal governments can't be used to build school buildings.
Sturdivant says, "A bond is the only way to expand facilities. There's no money in our budget, in our regular budget, we've been cut several years by the legislature in our minimum program funds, and there's no money available to us in any other way."
Sturdivant says the board will likely schedule a special board meeting work session sometime in the near future. That work session would allow board members to discuss how to go about meeting the district's growing student body.
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