The Harrison County School Board recently approved a $55 million bond issue to build two new schools, redesign one, and to improve security.
The Harrison County School District has increased by more than 2,000 students in the past ten years and one of the issues now is overcrowding. This bond proposes a new K through 8 school to be located in the D’Iberville area and a new middle school on the west side of the county, as well as redesigning North Gulfport Middle School to house students kindergarten through eighth grade. Assistant Principal Kevin Roberts said, “Not only do I work for the district. I’m a parent, I have two students in the district and school safety is a major concern. It’s a win-win situation that way you don’t have extra taxes, you’re not going to have your cost of things going up. You’re going to have good schools and you’re going to have safe schools.”
The bond will also cover security measures at entrances throughout the district. “We’re in a growing area, you look in the area, just around Three Rivers Elementary right here very fast growing area, but when you get all these bodies in a classroom a lot of times it’s hard for the instruction to happen,” said Roberts.
Right now, Three Rivers Elementary has no way of stopping people from just walking through the front door. They do have a sign that says visitors must report to the office, but if you’re not paying attention you could walk straight past the office and the secretary has no way of seeing who is coming in or out. Local parent Eric Simmons said, “I want the assurance of not only my child, but any child that when they’re in school you don’t have to worry about somebody being able to come in and do what they want to or take a child at any time without anybody even knowing. So you know common sense tells you if we can pass a bond that secure schools and that’s the biggest issue then why wouldn’t you do it if there was no tax raise involved?”
The bond would be repaid over 20 years without taxing citizens. According to officials this is possible with current estimates of revenue sources available, a recently paid debt and anticipated growth in the districts tax base. If the bond passes next month, they would start these projects immediately.
The bond election will take place November 6th. If you want more information you can attend one of the upcoming public meetings:
- October 23rd at West Harrison High School at 5:30 p.m.
- October 24th at River Oaks Elementary at 5:30 p.m.
- October 29th at Lyman Elementary School at 6:00 p.m.