Video: No Word Yet on Oktibbeha Bond Vote

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OKTIBBEHA COUNTY, Miss. (WCBI) — No word yet from Oktibbeha County schools conservator Margie Pulley on how she will proceed with a possible vote on $13.2 million in improvement bonds.

Citizens turned in more than 2,200 signatures Tuesday calling for the referendum. The Circuit Court clerk’s office certified the 1,533 needed to force the referendum, but Pulley says she’ll review them and decide what to do.

Of the money, $10 million would go toward a new $25 million, 102,000-square-foot pilot middle school on the MSU campus and the rest would upgrade buses and classrooms as part of the merger with Starkville schools.

That takes effect in July and Starkville school leaders have started an education campaign to explain to taxpayers how they would be impacted.


Millage for SSD and OCSD:  Operational and Debt Service 

SSD’s current millage rate is 66.57 while Oktibbeha County’s is 59. 

SSD collects 52 mils for non-debt service while OCSD collects 56 mils for non-debt service.  

SSD’s debt millage is 14.11 while Oktibbeha County’s debt millage is 3. 

When the two districts merge to form the Starkville Oktibbeha County School District, the operational millage rate for residents in the former Oktibbeha County School District will fall from 56 mils to 52 mils because the assessed value of a mil will increase.   The current overall millage which includes 3 mils for debt service will fall from 59 to 55 for OCSD. 

SSD 2007 bond issue 

SSD’s last major bond issue passed in 2007 totaled $26.5 million.  It resulted in a millage increase of 8.27 mils for residents of the Starkville School District which will roll off in 2025. 

The 2007 bond issue included $5.32 million for expansion of AMS to include a new two story wing to house sixth grade.  The cafeteria was also expanded to accommodate more students. 

In addition, the SSD spent $3.82 million at Starkville High School to construct new science labs and additional classrooms prior to consolidation. 

SSD’s is also currently collecting roughly 3 mils to pay off bonds issued in 1995/96. 

3 mil levy for OCSD and SSD

OCSD and SSD issued a 3 mil levy for the respective districts in the last year to begin the process of renovating and repairing buildings in advance of consolidation. 

The funds from the 3 mil levy in the OCSD are being used to finish the gym at East Elementary School, replace roofs and tile at East and West Elementary Schools, renovate restrooms, and construct an ADA entry access at West Elementary, along with other necessary renovations to upgrade the existing elementary schools. 

A 3 mil levy approved in June 2013 by the SSD Board of Trustees authorized the installation of a new turf field and track at Yellow Jacket Stadium which was funded in part through private contributions. The 3 mil levy also funded roof repairs at Ward Stewart, AMS, Overstreet, Henderson, SHS and Millsaps, new windows at Sudduth and the SHS and AMS gym, new tile at Sudduth and AMS, air conditioning system for Henderson gym, security fence at SHS, cafeteria expansion at SHS to accommodate students from East and West High Schools, and 35 new HVAC units. 

Bonds for OCSD for $13.2 million

Senate Bill 2818, the legislation which created the Starkville Oktibbeha Consolidated School District and outlined the plan for its required establishment beginning July 1, 2015, gave the OCSD the authority to issue bonds in the amount of $13.2 million in an effort to help pay for the expense of consolidation which includes $10 million for a new 6-7 grade school, referred to as the Partnership School, on the campus of Mississippi State University.  This funding source was recommended by the seven member Commission on School Structure that included representatives from MSU, SSD, OCSD and MDE and approved by the legislature.   

The remaining $3.2 million will be used to purchase new buses and technology for the students and teachers in the former Oktibbeha County School District which are currently provided to the students and teachers in Starkville School District.  This includes a laptop for every teacher, smartboards in every classroom, and modernized bus transportation.  

The bonds would require a 13 mil levy for 30 years and would cost property owners in the OCSD about $14 per month on a home valued at $100,000.


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