Following a near three-hour meeting of the Jackson County School Board a week ago, the Board voted for no millage increase which means taxes will NOT be raised to landowners this past Tuesday night. Superintendent Larry Moore opened the meeting with Chairman Terry Nichols asking for any citizens requesting to speak at the meeting.
Walt Hewett came to the podium and addressed the Board about his taxes over the last few years, noting the increase from 2016 to 2017. Hewett said, “My taxes in 2016 for Jackson County property taxes were $1938.99. Of this, $895.10 went to the Jackson County School system. That ends up being a percentage of 46.16% of my total property taxes went to the school system, almost 50%.” Hewett said while he fully supported the school system, his mom and dad and he worked for the school system, and wanted better for the students, he was maxed out with taxes and was opposed to an increase this year. Hewett said he was there to work with his commissioners to increase sales tax until he realized we were maxed out on sales tax. He complimented Dr. Nichols helping him out before the meeting with understanding some of the things that were going on. He thanked the board for their time and encouraged them to rethink their decision.
Following the citizen’s request, Superintendent Larry Moore addressed the board and said after much contemplation, he had opted to leave the rate at 1.114.
The Board voted on a motion that basically amended last week’s motion allowing for the advertised increase requested of 1.250 to remain at the 1.114 rate of last year, eliminating an increase to taxpayers for this year.
Following the meeting, school board member Tony Pumphrey said, ““I did do a lot of research and it did give me a chance to talk to a lot of the county taxpayers and we were able to come to a compromise that I think will benefit both. That’s a win-win for our schools, we get a little bit of money and the taxpayer doesn’t incur any additional burden of taxpayer money. Pumphrey says, even though the capital outlay is lower than they had hoped for, they will still be able to complete two of the projects.”
In other school board business, at the July 24 meeting, the school board agreed to move forward on a purchase of 157 acres of land for the potential site of a K-8 school for Grand Ridge and Sneads schools. School board member Chris Johnson told the board he had eyed this particular tract of property for some time and was more than happy to see it within reach of the school board obtaining it. The property is priced at approximately $2,344 per ace for an estimated $368,000. With both Sneads Elementary and Grand Ridge Middle School deteriorating yearly, the property located near the Inwood Community between Grand Ridge and Sneads seems to be a perfect fit for the prosed project.
At the July 24 meeting, an update was given by Deputy Superintendent Cheryl McDaniel in reference to job vacancies for the upcoming school year. At that time, there were still 43 positions open, however that was down from 52 the previous week. As of press time Wednesday, there are 40 positions open with eight of those teaching positions. There is one opening for an occupational therapist, seven for police officers, one custodian, 11 paraprofessionals with two of those required to be Spanish speaking, two mechanics, and 10 bus drivers. Moore said he should have an announcement on the last assistant principal position by Friday. Two employees were terminated from the school board. Bus driver Carolyn Killings for willful neglect of duty and paraprofessional TeQuavis Brigham for misconduct.
The Jackson County School Board will hold its monthly workshop August 16 at 4:00 p.m. with the monthly meeting the following Tuesday, August 21 at 4:00 p.m. The workshop and the meeting will be held in the board room at the school board office.