LOWNDES COUNTY, Miss. (WCBI) — Lowndes County school leaders say a $47 million bond issue is an investment in the county’s future, but they have to convince voters who will decide next Tuesday.
With school underway, the Lowndes County School Board is focusing on a host of improvements over the next three years that will literally touch every one of the district’s 5,000 students in some way.
“Even though the bond issue projects an increase in taxes that would go into affect immediately in about two years, what we are looking at we should have enough revenue coming in to service our debt within about 18 months,” says Lynn Wright.
Registered voters who live in Lowndes County, but outside the Columbus Municipal School District go to the polls August 26th to decide if Lowndes County Schools need the money.
Assistant superintendent, Robin Ballard says the community appears to be supportive.
“We’ve got a lot of positive feedback, especially from the teachers and now out in the community now that it’s getting out about the bond issue. They’re really excited about the one to one learning initiative,” says Robin Ballard.
The funds will go toward building new facilities such as a new Caledonia Elementary School, New Hope High School and a VoTech training center.
It will even provide iPads and MacBooks to students grades kindergarten through 12th.
“They will be able to take them home and use them as well because the content that they look at during the school day will be available offline with the apple products so even students who do not have internet access at home will be able to use the machine to do research or any other homework,” says Ballard.
Wright believes these new devices go beyond learning in the classroom. That’s what he calls the investment in the future.
“These jobs that are out there in the future everything involves technology. The industry now, they are going to have to have a technological skills to be able to thrive to get jobs and hold jobs in the industry we have in Lowndes County,” says Wright.
While the outcome of the vote is up in the air, school leaders are optimistic about the future of the school district.
To pass, 60% of voters must approve the bond issue.
The tech devices will not be issued to students until next school year.
At the earliest, construction on the new facilities won’t begin until early next year and could take two years.