Vote on Petal bond referendum set for Tuesday

Petal to vote on school bond Tuesday
Published: May. 12, 2023 at 7:22 PM CDT
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PETAL, Miss. (WDAM) - The growing City of Petal is running out of space for students to learn.

That’s why the school district has asked for a vote on a bond issue that would provide funds to build a new school as well as a new multi-purpose facility.

To cover the bond, a 4.5 mill raise in ad valorem taxes would be required, meaning someone younger than 65 years old who owns a $100,000 home would pay an additional $45 in property taxes a year.

For specific information on how much your property or valorem tax will increase if the referendum is passed, click here.

School district officials said a successful vote on the bond referendum would not only benefit the students coming through the school district within the next few years, but for many years to come.

“This community loves the school district and, from what I’ve seen over my nine years, supports the schools in any way possible,” Petal School District Superintendent Matt Dillon said. “And there’s not a better way to support the schools than consider this bond referendum and see if this is something they think makes sense because there is a big need in our district.”

Voting on the referendum will take place Tuesday at the Petal High School Gymnasium from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Dillon said adjustments have been made at the high school to accommodate voters.

“We’re going to clear out the front of the parking lot of Petal High School,’ Dillon said. “Our students will park in different areas across campus. There will be SRO’s there as well just to help direct traffic and make sure it’s a safe environment.

“But it’s going to be directly in front of the high school front office and gymnasium area. It’s accessible, it’s going to be a very easy walk in and out and we will be able to accommodate our people (who) are coming out to vote.”

Though some may be against the bond referendum to expand the school district, others are all for it, including Petal High School alumni.

“Petal has been known for many years as one of the premier school districts in the state of Mississippi and I can attest to the wonderful skills and education that I was able to receive at Petal,” Petal alumnae Brooke Burleson said. “So, I think if taxpayers can kind of put it into perspective and understand that a small increase now will help their children and their children’s children in the future, then it will all level out.”

Changes proposed include a new elementary school for third and fourth grades. The current elementary school would become part of the high school.

Plans also call for a new multi-purpose facility foer both for arts and athletics at the high school that would have a gym with stadium seating and a stage.

“I think it’s not just out of necessity that Petal needs these new spaces, but its something that is going to benefit students currently and in the future we will see a huge payoff with new venues and new spaces that can house students” Burleson said.

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