Jackson County Superintendent Clarifies Bond Intention during April Board of Education Meeting | #Education

The Jackson County School District Board of Education held their monthly board meeting last evening in the board room at the district office in Vancleave.

During the meeting, Superintendent Dr. John Strycker clarified the intention of the current facility bond proposal. “I understand that when a district seeks to raise taxes for any reason, community members can get very serious. I respect this,” said Strycker.

Therefore, during his monthly update to the board, Strycker clarified several points concerning the bond:

  1. This plan is community driven considering several forms of input and data.
  2. The divide of funding amongst East Central, St. Martin, and Vancleave was derived from “good-hearted politics” in that each community wanted the most for their children.
  3. The last large-scale investment of funding for JCSD facilities was in 1996, and before that, in 1980. The district is long overdue for a large-scale facility investment.
  4. The district has over 1.25 million square feet of facilities to maintain. The facility plan is for repair and construction of new facility structures.
  5. Population was considered as the district originally believed that a new school would be necessary in St. Martin. However, the demographic study data proved differently in that a new school was not necessary if building utilization adjustments were made to current facilities, as the bond plan proposes.
  6. The district will follow the community-driven plan if voted in by the taxpayers. Credibility between the district and community is vital, and the district is mandated by law to follow through with what is on the ballot.

Jackson County Board of Education President, Troy Frisbie, reiterated the superintendent’s first point in stating, “We have taken over a year to develop our plan and began broadcasting our board meetings online so that all stakeholders could be involved. We seek to be transparent, and we understand this plan needs to be community driven.”

Frisbie also commented on attending several community meetings as the plan was being developed. “I attended numerous meetings in the community as we molded the plan for the bond,” stated Frisbie. “In fact, the K-5 concept for Vancleave began from community input.”

Also, during the meeting, the board heard an update from Director of Curriculum and Administration, Dr. Penny Westfaul, regarding the ACT initiative, district state testing, and student participation. Dr. Westfaul noted that the district is seeking to offer additional extracurricular activities for students with the goal of getting students more involved. “There is no question that when students are active both inside and outside the classroom, higher student achievement occurs,” said Dr. Westfaul.

The district is looking to add E-Sports, wrestling, and bass fishing to its offerings. The meeting concluded with student recognitions for the month, including Vancleave High School student Avery Higginbotham for his “Welcome to Vancleave” sign on the edge of town as part of his Eagle Scout project, as well as recognitions for the St. Martin Middle School track team, archery, and robotics programs. If there are any questions or concerns regarding this press release, please contact Superintendent John Strycker at 228-283-3000.

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