Districts in Mississippi are struggling to meet state-mandated standards on achievement and facility needs. As MPB's Ashley Norwood reports, the state's second-largest school system wants local voters to support a multi-million dollar loan they think will resolve its infrastructure issues.
Today Jacksonians will decide whether to approve a $65 million dollar bond referendum that supporters say will provide funds to make repairs at aging school facilities. Ed Sivak is the Vice President of the Jackson Public School Board. He stands in front of a vacant building at Bailey Middle School which needs approximately $830,000 dollars in repairs.
"The issues here: there's sight drainage to control it'll affect the shifting of the building, restroom renovations, lighting, basic things basic needs basic infrastructure some improvements fro the gymnasium. Those are some of the things here in this building," said Sivak.
The referendum needs a sixty percent majority in order to pass. Sivak says it's important the community votes yes.
"The age of our buildings shows that there are challenges whether it in the restrooms, our sporting facilities, whether it is on our lighting, just basic infrastructure. This bond is about creating opportunities that inspire learning, that'll inspire our students and keep them in school ready to learn and succeed in the next century," said Sivak.
David Archie is a community activist and business owner in Jackson. He explains why he's voting no on the bond referendum.
"We got schools that are out of control. We have schools that need mentors. We have schools that need real men on the inside of the school to help take the schools back and to help take control where the children can be in a learning environment. But there's no mention of that," said Archie.
Archie says the money won't solve the teacher shortage nor guarantee the state won't take over if the district continues to fail. Ashley Norwood, MPB News.