School bond vote set for May
All schools in the Marshall County School District need repairs, safety enhancements, and some campuses need additional classrooms.
The Marshall County School Board has, for several months, met with architects and other experts to prioritize the needs and determine the cost to make these improvements.
With all members present, the school board met in a called meeting on February 28, to further discuss these needs. The meeting was opened with prayer, the Pledge of Allegiance, and the reading of the Mission Statement. The agenda was adopted as presented.
Finalization of the bond resolutions was led by Jim Young of Young Law Firm in Jackson. There was ample opportunity for discussion, along with explanations of how the bond issue worked.
Young explained the last payment on a previous bond was coming up. A new bond issue would be needed to keep mils on the books for use by the school district without the potential for raising taxes. If there is no bond to be paid, then the funds cannot go to the school district. Without the bond, the board of supervisors would make the decision of what to do with the funds.
The needs of the school district are great, and the amount needed to meet those needs is substantially more than this bond would provide, according to officials. However, the funds needed would increase taxes. Marshall County is on the cusp of development. Counties in surrounding areas are improving their schools. When companies come in, they will look at the schools, as to where their employees should live.
Since the board must request tax dollars by August 15 for all school funds, the new bond needs to be issued prior to August 15. It is good to have the election while school is in session, according to officials. May 7 was set for the election date. Two resolutions were passed. The first resolution was of the school board’s intent to do potential projects if the bond passes. The second resolution was to set the election – stating a maximum dollar amount, the election date, and the polling places. These would be given to the Marshall County Election Commission and the circuit clerk.
The resolution sets the maximum amount to be requested but not the minimum. Factors that will influence the final amount requested include interest rates, underwriters and how millage is set for the county. Bonds can be issued in series as needed.
The language of the bond on the ballot will be for general building, equipment, renovations, and utilities. This sets the boundaries of what can be done with funds. Cost estimates will determine exactly what can be done at each school after prioritization is complete. Information will be given to the public with a good faith estimate of what the intended repairs will be at each site after the prioritization by the board is complete. Public input will be welcome but necessary items must be done first.
Bond proceeds can be invested until spent.
The board discussed the growth of Marshall County over the last eight years along with the potential of future growth.
Due to the size of the county, several polling places will be necessary. Although there are several options of which polling places to open, the board voted to open all polling places except for the two that fall solely within the Holly Springs School District so no one would feel disenfranchised.
Both resolutions were approved with Lender Luse, Mark Turner and Leslie King voting for the resolutions and Terry Cook and Bob Barry voting against the resolutions.
In other business, the criteria for a superintendent search was discussed.
Also, the funds received from a grant for two school resource officers was approved to be transferred to the sheriff’s department budget.
The next school board meeting is March 19 at 5:30 p.m. at Byhalia High School.