HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Hattiesburg City Council members are endorsing the upcoming vote for a bond referendum later this month that could translate into millions of dollars for the Hattiesburg Public School District.
The council unanimously approved a resolution to endorse the bond referendum during Tuesday's meeting, hoping to encourage all citizens of HPSD to vote in favor of the bond. The special election is Tuesday, May 22.
"I feel it's so important that the city to support its public school system, so we have to help them in any means we can and this particular bond issue is really a no brainer," said Council President Carter Carroll.
With approval by 60-percent of voters, the school district could see up to $22.5 million for much-needed building repairs and renovations.
While the district says more than $40 million is needed for all facilities, the board opted to target projects to avoid raising taxes.
Voters approved a bond renewal in December 2001. This special election will give Hattiesburg residents the option to renew the capital improvement millage, which currently stands at 4.84 mills, with no increase in taxes.
"I think historically our city has always stepped to support our school district," said council member Jeffrey George. "Back many years ago, we voted to put this bond in place, so I think it is important that we support it now and step up to the plate in this day and age in supporting our school system."
Plans for the potential funding includes $7 million to Hattiesburg High School for a "significant investment" toward safety and security with technology on campus, as well as classroom upgrades. $4 million would go to N.R. Burger Middle School to add classrooms, with additional funding used to upgrade classrooms at all elementary schools.
"Having funding to funnel into our facilities is going to be critical to make sure our students receive a 21st century education," said George. "So we need to do whatever we can to secure funding, whatever means possible to invest in facilities for our students."
There will be five polling places, one in each ward. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at these locations:
- Ward 1: Cornerstone Baptist Church, W 7th Street
- Ward 2: Hattiesburg Train Depot
- Ward 3: Thames Elementary
- Ward 4: Kamper Park Zoo
- Ward 5: Rowan Elementary