Public voices concerns during Meridian school bond issue meeting

Published: Aug. 2, 2022 at 9:59 PM CDT
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MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - The Meridian Public School District hosted a final community meeting Tuesday night aimed at informing eligible voters about the $34 million special bond election set for next week.

There are mixed reactions to the school district’s plans.

“The main thing is the safety features. I serve as a district 2 constable. There are five schools in my district. I patrol these schools in my district on a daily basis. A lot of time I see kids that are not in school and people that are constantly walking in the neighborhood. I even witness people walking through Meridian High School campus, Magnolia School campus, Northwest, and West Hills Elementary campus. I see it on a daily basis. I think with this bond issue they are saying closing some of these access points to these campuses will also make our kids safer,” said Ondray Harris.

The vice-president of the Carver Community Coalition, which wants to keep Carver Middle School open, was present at the meeting. Earlier this year, the school board voted to close Carver and have only Magnolia and Northwest operate as middle schools. Chic Johnson said he supports the bond issue, but the coalition has concerns.

“When the statement was made that we might as well face it that we have a dwindling population, and it is going to be that way, there was no allowance for the possibility of growth. I have a problem with that. We just decided that we are going to be a smaller city or school, therefore, we are going to close some schools. I am a proponent of growth. I believe Meridian’s better days are ahead of her,” said Johnson.

MPSD Director of Operations Clay Sims shared when construction would begin for this project if this bond issue receives at least 60% support from voters.

“Work can begin perhaps in the fall of 2023. Some of the larger projects will take a little longer to design. Those projects will lag behind. Ideally, it would break down soon after,” said Sims.

The vote on the $34 million bond issue, which the district said will not include a tax increase due to the retirement of other bond debt, will be Tuesday, August 9, 2022, for eligible voters who live in the Meridian Public School District.

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