MICHAELA MORRIS: Pop quiz today for Lee County

images-6School doesn’t start for a week, but Lee County School District voters have an important test today.

It’s just one question. The voters won’t choose a president, but the election’s outcome is vitally important to the 7,100 students and the people who teach them.

There’s a $13.5 million bond issue on the line. It essentially renews the 1993 bond issue that will otherwise expire. For someone who has a $100,000 house, it’s about $40 a year in property taxes.

The money is slated to fund projects on nine of the district’s 11 campuses.

It means more classrooms to relieve overcrowding at Shannon and Saltillo high schools, Guntown and Plantersville middle schools and Saltillo Primary.

It means renovated halls and restrooms at Saltillo, Shannon and Verona elementaries and Mooreville middle and high schools.

You can find a complete rundown in the stories written by the Daily Journal’s education reporter Chris Kieffer at Djournal.com.

Before 2007, public schools with strong stewardship like Lee County had more wiggle room to set aside funds to keep buildings maintained and make some small additions. But no more.

Based on an analysis by the Parents Campaign, Lee County Schools would have received another $15 million between Fiscal Year 2011 and 2014 if the Mississippi Adequate Education Program was fully funded.

This is the reality of state and federal budget cuts. The burden is shifted to local tax payers.

I don’t have skin in this particular election; my family lives in a different public school district. But I do consider myself an advocate for public schools.

During the course of my Daily Journal career, I’ve had the privilege of seeing teachers and students in the Lee County Schools in action. They are working tremendously hard to give youngsters the best possible education.

The teachers I’ve seen are constantly looking for ways to do more, often with fewer resources than they had a few years ago.

A simple majority isn’t enough today. Bond issues require a 60 percent or better approval to pass. The district needs people who consider themselves public school supporters to show up and vote today.

Lee County polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The children need you to make a stand, as you’ve done since 1993.

MICHAELA GIBSON MORRIS is a Daily Journal staff writer. Contact her at (662) 678-1599 or michaela.morris@journalinc.com

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