$65 million JPS bond vote one week away

JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - Jackson residents will go to the polls Tuesday to vote on a $65 million school bond referendum that would go to make much needed repairs and upgrades to schools at all levels in the district.

A similar bond issue was passed in 2006 and the district has now paid off that debt.

The Jackson Public School District has now released the full list of repairs and improvements they plan to make.

Just reading all that needs to be done would make your head spin. School officials are hoping parents back them and vote yes come Tuesday.

WLBT toured two schools Wednesday to see the conditions first hand.

You can't wash your hands after using a first floor bathroom at Provine High school, because there's no water in the sink.

There is, however, water running down several walls around the building. Along with peeling paint and crumbling walls. If the bond referendum is passed, $1.1 million would be spent at Provine to make upgrades.

"There are lots of structural inadequacies," said JPS Board President Jeanne Middleton-Hairston. "In many schools, we don't have clean water. Our bathrooms are unsanitary. We have wings of some schools that have been closed."

JPS officials say there are 350 individual projects they want to start with the bond money. Their price tags range from $50 thousand to $8 million.

They hope to upgrade outdated libraries and put science labs in all middle and high schools, replacing outdated equipment.

"Children are very attuned to the facilities they have," said Middleton-Hairston. "They are very conscious of what JPS is not able to offer particularly when they visit their friends' schools. Other districts do not suffer from declining enrollment and lack of funding."

Some parents have seen the problems in the buildings and plan to support the bond vote.

"They need to improve the schools," said parent Angela Magee. "The bathrooms, lockers, just everything. Libraries, everything."

A sink covered in tape at Hardy Middle School is also on the repair list. It's on the floor above a broken window and a classroom that floods every time it rains.

JPS officials have created an Bond Oversight Committee to follow the money, if the bond is passed.

A full list of planned repairs can be seen below.

For more information on the bond issue, including frequently asked questions, you can click here.

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