Can JPS collect on $4 million shortfall? - - Jackson, MS

Can JPS collect on $4 million shortfall?

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JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Jackson Public Schools will operate for the time being with a $4 million shortfall; that's an un-audited and unconfirmed amount.

JPS Interim Superintendent Dr. Jayne Sargent says her office has communicated to Jackson Mayor Harvey Johnson that they don't feel they collected all the tax revenues owed to them.

"We have met with the Mayor to try to understand, and he's looking into it with his staff to try to see what has really happened," Dr. Sargent says. "We certainly don't think the City is deliberately trying to keep anything from the school district."

Mayor Johnson says it's easier to solve problems like this earlier in the budget year, and if all sides communicate.

Perhaps he's right, because there appears to be a misunderstanding among JPS, the City, and the Hinds County Taxpayer's Office.

"It's my understanding, the amount of millage that was set, all of it was not collected," Mayor Johnson says.

"I know it is collected by our tax person, Eddie Fair, and then it goes through the City and then to the school district," Dr. Sargent says.

Tax Collector Eddie Fair disputes both of those claims.

"We write each of them a separate check, so there's no truth that there's one check going to the City of Jackson. The City of Jackson has to pay Jackson Public Schools."

Fair showed us printout of the cash Jackson Public Schools has collected from car tag revenue since January 2009. Revenue is distributed to each entity, by check, each month. Fair says any problems JPS has with a shortfall would have nothing to do with tax revenues, as far as his office is concerned.

"By statute, on the 19th of every month, we have to give everybody their money," he says.

Along with car tags, other sources of tax revenue are personal and real property collections.

JPS says they are awaiting response from the City of Jackson on whether anything can be recouped. 

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