Okolona $2M bond vote undecided

county_chickasaw_greenBy Floyd Ingram

Chickasaw Journal

OKOLONA – A $2 million school bond election appears to have passed 812-414, but there are approximately 500 absentee and affidavit ballots to be counted this morning.

Voters in Okolona went to the polls Tuesday to vote on a bond issue aimed at repairing roofs, fixing heating and air-conditioning systems and improving athletic facilities. This was the first school bond issue brought before Okolona voters in more than 50 years.

“I am always optimistic and I said from the beginning this was about our children and if this bond issue fails we have failed our children,” said Okolona School Board President Jerome D. Smith. “This community was much too polarized on this issue and at some point we have to move on.”

Mississippi law requires school bond issues to pass by 60 percent.

“I want to commend our school board for taking this step,” said Okolona Superintendent Dexter Green. “This issue has been put to a vote and the people have spoken. We will wait patiently for the outcome. I and this board felt this was the right thing to do and we put it before the community.”

The election was for residents of the Okolona School District. City residents voting at Okolona High School saw 459 for and 135 against. Residents residing outside the city limits voted at Okolona Elementary where 356 voted for and 289 voted against.

Election commissioner Keisha Bogan said the 500-plus absentee ballots would be counted first thing this morning.

The election was not without confusion as there were 18 affidavit ballots cast at the high school and 34 affidavit ballots cast at the elementary school.

“Most of the affidavit ballots were cast because they did not show up with photo ID,” said Bogan. “We will check the name on each affidavit ballot with the voter rolls provided by Chickasaw County assistant Circuit Clerk Patti Stallings and have five days to tally those votes.”

The bulk of the funding is to be spent at the old Okolona High School that now houses administration offices and on heating and air-conditioning repairs at Okolona Elementary School on that same campus.

If the bond issue is successful the tax increase on a $100,000 home would be about $98 a year.

floyd.ingram@journalinc.com