Final school bond forum draws largest crowd

jimmyweeksBy Chris Kieffer
Daily Journal

SHANNON – The Lee County School District’s third and final bond forum drew its largest crowd.

More than 70 people filled Shannon High School’s auditorium on Tuesday night to hear district officials outline how they would spend $13.5 million in new bond money if it is approved by voters. To pass, the bond issue must receive support on 60 percent of ballots cast in next Tuesday’s election.

The money would be used to fund various construction and renovation projects throughout the district. Taxes would not increase if the bond is approved because it would replace debt from a 1993 bond issue that rolls off the district’s books next month. If it is defeated, taxes would go down about $40 a year on a house appraised at $100,000.

The largest project in Shannon will be on the high school campus and would include a new cafeteria/auditorium and a new two-story building that would hold 19 to 23 classrooms. That would include 16 to replace classrooms that would be demolished and three to seven for new growth.

“I think it is good because anytime you can get money without increasing taxes, you need to take advantage of it,” said Carl Trice of Shannon, who is also an alderman in the town.

Tupelo and Lee County NAACP President Chris Traylor said voters in Shannon support the plans for the construction. Their biggest concern, he said, is whether the district follows through on its promises.

Teresa Roberts of Shannon said she was satisfied with what she heard on Tuesday from Lee County Superintendent Jimmy Weeks.

“After listening to it, I’m for the bond issue,” Roberts said. “I was satisfied with the improvements they are making at Shannon. I feel Shannon is getting more than any other school, but it is long overdue. I think people are ready to vote for the bond issue, but there was a concern they wouldn’t do what they promised.”

Miriam Hallmark of Shannon also said she supported the issue.

“It is wonderful,” she said. “Anyone who doesn’t support the bond issue is leaving these kids out.”

Weeks felt good about the district’s final forum. It also held meetings last week at Saltillo and Mooreville high schools.

“It was a good crowd,” he said. “I think the people asked the questions everyone was curious to know the answers to. I answered the best I could, and they received it really well.”

chris.kieffer@journalinc.com