Oxford School District voters face bond issue

By ERROL CASTENS / Daily Journal Oxford Bureau

OXFORD – Residents of the Oxford School District, which includes the city and parts of surrounding Lafayette County, will vote today on whether to spend up to $30 million to fund a new high school and renovations at the existing schools.
Polling is at the Oxford Activity Center from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., and vote tallying will begin immediately afterward. A 60 percent margin is required for approval.
School officials assert the existing campuses are insufficient for a school population that continues to grow. Middle and elementary classes are significantly larger than the current high school classes.
“What happens is, we graduate 220 and bring 300 in on the other end,” said Assistant Superintendent Brian Harvey, a 1990 graduate of Oxford High. “The first thing we need to do is to design and build a new facility.”
All but one of the district’s campuses is beyond its stated capacity. Adjustments for the overcrowding already evident have ranged from one-way halls and classroom sharing among teachers at Oxford High to tutoring in hallways at the middle school.
If voters approve the referendum, the high school’s projected completion in 2013 will create a domino effect of renovation and grade shifts at existing campuses.
The current high school on Bramlett Boulevard, for instance, will become the new junior high school after renovation.
While school-bus-yellow “Vote Yes” signs are prominent among the campaign signs dotting yards and roadsides around Oxford, board members have not yet completed negotiations on property for the proposed new high school. Even so, officials hope voters will trust them to finish that soon after the vote.
“We feel very positive about the case we’ve made,” said Superintendent Kim Stasny.
According to the district’s website, approval will cost homeowners $68 per year for every $100,000 of their assessed home value.

Contact Errol Castens at (662) 281-1069 or errol.castens@djournal.com.

Click video to hear audio