OKOLONA – Residents of the Okolona School District will head to the polls Aug. 26 to vote on a $2 million bond issue that will renovate facilities across the district in eastern Chickasaw County.
The Okolona Board of Trustees voted 3-2 recently to seek revenue bonds that will make repairs at facilities across the district. The bulk of the funding will be spent at the Old Okolona High School that now houses administration offices and on heating and air conditioning repairs at Okolona Elementary School.
“This bond issue has been sparked by a need to have students in classrooms that are safe and adequately heated and cooled,” said Superintendent Dexter Green. “We have leaking roofs at several buildings and it’s time to perform needed maintenance.”
Green said money in the bond issue will also go to enhance the new football field and help the Chieftains move from the current football stadium on Highway 32 next to the National Guard Armory to a new field closer to the high school.
“We are currently renting that field for $4,000 annually and don’t own the property,” said Green. “We’ve had difficulty making needed repairs at Wilson Park.”
Okolona School District was also cited for violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act with the Old Okolona High School specifically named as not being handicapped accessible.
“It has been reported that the three-story building was structurally unsound,” said Green. “We had NewPath Consultants examine the building and they say it is structurally sound.”
Green said district playgrounds are not safe and part of the bond issue will upgrade those facilities.
“In addition to the ADA issues, we have been contacted by the MHSAA (Mississippi High School Activities Association) about their concerns with our athletic facilities,” said Green. “We have also been reported to the Office of Civil Rights about discrepancies directly related to Okolona School District.”
Green pointed out the district has made improvements in academics since it came out from under state control almost two years ago.
“That’s what this school bond election is really about, it’s about providing our students – our children – with the same learning environment that can be found in other school districts,” said Green.