Tuesday, June 12, 2018

JPS: "We are not Focused Mostly on Saving Money."

"We are not focused on saving money."  So said Jackson Public School Board President Dr. Jeanne Hairston yesterday at a press conference at Jackson City Hall.  The Lumumba Administration held a press conference to announce a $65 million bond referendum for JPS that will be held on August 8. 


Members of the City Council questioned whether the election should be held in August.  The City Clerk told the Council the election could cost up to $500,000.  The consensus at the June 5 meeting of the City Council was that the election would cost several hundred thousand dollars based on the costs associated with past municipal elections.  However, several council members asked why the referendum could be placed on the same ballot as the federal elections in November when the cost for doing so would be negligible.   JPS promised to repay the city for all referendum expenses although no such agreement has been placed into writing. 



This correspondent attended a meeting of the Hinds County Election Commission yesterday.  The subject of the bond referendum arose.  Several Election Commissioners said it would cost a penny per ballot to add the referendum to the ballot.  Yours truly asked Dr. Hairston why the referendum could not be added to the November ballot if it would save several hundred thousand dollars:

Kingfish: How much will the election cost?
Dr. Hairston: Whatever the cost, the District is paying for it through supporters.
Kingfish: I was at the Election Commission this morning and they said it could be done for a penny a ballot if it could be done in the November election.  Couldn't you save alot of money if you did so?
Dr. Hairston: We are not focused mostly on saving money. We are focused on meeting the needs of our children.  If we wait, we will generate less money.....






The  City Council scrutinized the election at it's June 5 meeting.   Ward 1 Councilman Ashby Foote "I don't think that's fair to the school system.  They've got lots of things they need to address and that's alot of money for a one day election."  Foote complained that no one would provide in writing any specific information about the actual costs of the referendum. Ward 4 Councilman DeKeither Stamps and Ward 6 Councilman Aaron Banks urged the School Board to hold the election in November.  All members but Ward 7 Councilwoman Virgi Lindsay chimed in with their concerns over the cost of holding a referendum.

CFO Sheralyn Miller said Jackson homeowners should see no increase in their property taxes.  She said the new debt would replace debt that will expire and thus "roll off" the books.  Jackson Chief Administrative Officer Dr. Robert Blaine said a campaign to knock on "60,000 doors" to promote passage of the bond issue would take place.   60% of the voters must approve the referendum.

It should be noted that a list of projects funded by the new bond issue was not provided at the press conference.


48 comments:

Anonymous said...

At least the truth was spoken..........

"We are not focused on saving money"

One more footnote.

" We never will be focused on saving money, because we like spending other people's money. We love our kingdoms, our fat salaries and having all the perks that a job at JPS offers. We love our personal days, our sick days and hope we can get a lot more of them. We cannot operate in a businesslike manner because we don't like rules. We just want mo' money. So, give it to us right now" !!

Anonymous said...

These people are all morons... Dr. Hairston sounds like a loof... she would never make it in the real world earning a paycheck...

Anonymous said...

Apparently, the school administrators are afraid that too many reasonably sane people will show up at the general election versus a few idiots at the special election.

Wiseowl said...

Where is Kirby Walker when you need him?

Louis LeFleur said...

But "it's for the children"! Not so famous last words that are supposed to ensure a favorable vote. Not this time. This Jacksonian will be voting against it solely because of how it was done.

Anonymous said...

JPS board members are not paid - they volunteer a tremendous amount of time. Jeanne Middleton is extremely smart and capable - frankly, we are very lucky that she has agreed to take on serving on the JPS board. If the bonds can be issued three months earlier by doing a special election, it seems to make financial sense. The infrastructural needs of JPS are immense.

Anonymous said...

If the bonds can be issued three months earlier by doing a special election, it seems to make financial sense.

Prove that it makes financial sense.

Anonymous said...

The board not paid, and this bond is a way of to fill there damn pockets..

Anonymous said...

Lumumba is going to demand another property tax increase in the upcoming city budget because Jackson is flat broke. He's pushing hard for the JPS special election because he knows the bonds won't pass in November after he soaks property taxpayers again.

Read closely. Sheralyn Miller is not guaranteeing no property tax increase to pay for these new bonds.

Anonymous said...


a business that is not interested in saving money but is asking the bank (taxpayers) for more money is doomed for failure

Anonymous said...

All of these will pass. The voting population of Jackson is not the same people that own property. Ridgeland take note, you are no different. The population of voters who do not own property vastly exceeds the population that does own property. You’re next (you’re already there).

Anonymous said...

They think they can knock on 60,000 doors but yet can’t tell those 60,000 folks where the money is going?

Nah. Not buying it.

Anonymous said...

I'm certain they won't come knocking on the doors of the actual largest taxpayers... the one that send kids to private schools and live in northeast Jackson... knock on doors around South and west Jackson only I'm sure.. the takers rather than the makers.

Anonymous said...

If the bonds can be issued three months earlier by doing a special election, it seems to make financial sense.

Prove that it makes financial sense.


Just like this:

The sooner they have the money the sooner they can be "not focused mostly on saving money."

In other words, the sooner you borrow the other peoples money, the sooner you can start spending it!

Anonymous said...

Why won't they give a list of proposed projects. Business lesson #1 - You don't ask for that kind of money without justifying it first.

Anonymous said...

The 2008 Bonds that are rolling off were refunded with the 2015A bonds. So we are still paying off the 2008 bonds for another 10 years by way of paying the 2015 bonds. Which the tax levy on is not going away. Based on 2017 audit, looks like annual debt payments of around $19-20mm until 2025 when it drops to $15. Hard to see how they can issue new debt at current millage rate unless they defer principal and insterest out to 2025.

Anonymous said...

Paying for a new paint job on a car with ho transmission.

Anonymous said...

They're not focused on saving money just as they haven't been focused on educating students.
Jackson taxpayers thank Phil Bryant for his cowardice.

Louis LeFleur said...

9:57, I agree that Dr. Jeanne Middleton Hairston is a smart and capable person, but even she might be over her head in this one, and her comments as quoted by KF don't make her look so good. Being head of the education department at Millsaps is not the same as running JPS.

Anonymous said...

@ 10:59,
These people don't have a clue about money or business... they think money is simply grown on trees. They couldn't pass an entry level economics class...

Anonymous said...

JPS. A study in incompetence.

Anonymous said...

@11:04- hope the financial advisors explained the implications of needing to roll old bonds forward in a rising interest rate environment...whop am i fooling?!

Anonymous said...

The mere fact that Ms. Hairston can make that statement with a straight face gives you some idea of the arrogance of Black democratic leadership in a predominantly democrat jurisdiction. We just need mo' money! We don't have to explain. We don't have to be efficient. It don't cost nothing, so let's have it! If they were anywhere else they would first give detailed itemizations of the needs AND the reasons they can't wait. Being good stewards of tax payer dollars is always a priority. Unless...

Anonymous said...

Perhaps JPS can team up with the city. While they're knocking on doors, they can deliver waters bills also.

Anonymous said...

More money is always the solution. More money will fix everything. More money has produced the stellar JPS we now have. More money I say! Dang, I am so glad my zip code is 39110.

Anonymous said...

She says in the video that if they wait they'll generate less money "in the long run". Sorry, that is total, complete, utter BS. If the focus is truly the long run there is no f'ing way they'll make $500,001 or avoid $500,001 in costs by not waiting 90 days. This is insanity and why Jackson is so screwed up. Who is truly surprised that Antar Lumumba would green light this sort of lunacy?

Anonymous said...

Apparently, the school administrators are afraid that too many reasonably sane people will show up at the general election versus a few idiots at the special election.

I believe you have nailed it. I've always supported school bond issues in the past.........not this time.

Antard said...

Wow.
"We gonna raise this 60m"
Ah no you gonna borrow it.

"We need to upgrade our athletics"
I thought this was for education.
"Transformative" = how do we spend more money and get some or less results.


Anonymous said...

Aren't bonds free money?

Anonymous said...

I too will be voting NO for this bond issue until I see more specifics from the new Board as to what projects this money will be spent on and also more effort by this Board to cut present wasteful spending.
-Tell us exactly why JPS needs $65 million. What projects will it be spent on/for ?
-JPS presently spends roughly $16 million more a year than the Desoto County School District, which is an A rated district. Is the present $16 million more not enough if spent more wisely ?
-JPS has roughly 700 more employees in an "administrative" role than does Desoto County, which again is a larger district with more students. If each of these 700 extra people make just $10,000 a year each, that's $7 million spent on unnecessary staff. Over 10 years, the amount of time it will take to repay these new bonds, JPS would have more than $65 million extra to spend.
-JPS has 13 or 14 more schools than Desoto County, which again has more students. JPS could close 10 schools and save the millions of dollars it takes to operate each of these unnecessary schools each year.
-And just from this article alone, we see that JPS could save $500,000 by holding the bond referendum during the November general election rather than having its only special election. Here JPS is wanting us to borrow $65 million because it supposedly needs more money, but yet it's willing to waste 500,000 of it on a special election that would cost nothing if it just waited a few months until the general election.
I have no problem if JPS wants to spend more on school infrastructure, but that money for infrastructure improvements could easily be found in its present budget if it just eliminated some pretty obvious waste.

Anonymous said...

Hey NE Jackson taxpayers....BOHICA! (Bend over, here it comes again)

Anonymous said...

10:18, Ridgeland is a part of the Madison County School District which includes Madison, Flora and most of the rest of the county. Only Canton has its own separate school system.

Anonymous said...

@3:37 don't bother the contagion theorists with the details. They badly need the surrounds to fail so they can remain unaccountable for idly standing by while Jackson imploded.

Anonymous said...

If this election was held in November, along with the regular scheduled election, it could be done with no additional cost to the taxpayers of the City of Jackson (who, by the way BOS, are also taxpayers of the County of Hinds - so you should be working with them to save money rather than trying to play ass-covering.)

Granted, the county is not necessarily competent to conduct the election, but we are trusting them to conduct the elections for Senators and Judges - no reason to back away from a simple bond issue. And the city's record is no better than the county's - so don't try running down that rabbit hole to justify the separation of governments.

For the city to budget $500k for the conduct of this election shows clearly that they have no idea how to properly handle this activity - if they are not going to do it for nothing (putting it on the November ballot), they should not spend anywhere near this obvious "pull a number out of their rear end" 'estimate'. And it appears that they have refused to give the council any breakdown of the budget number.

All of NE Jackson that sings the praises of Ward 7 Councilperson Virgi Lindsey should note with interest her absolute refusal to even consider the question about this budget number - her attitude has been that if that's what they are asking for, they obviously should get it. No questions asked. Almost as terrible an attitude as JPS's Dr. Hairston who doesn't care what it costs - ITS FOR THE CHILLEN, so therefore it should not be questioned.

They have convinced me. No more voting for a bond issue from my household until there is a total removal of these idiots from the piggy bank. Can't tell us what they are going to use $65 million for; refuse to tell us (and the city council) why it costs $500k for the election; refuse to consider saving money by putting it on November ballot. AND DON"T GIVE A DAMN what us taxpayers think.

Anonymous said...

To 6:24: Ditto to the max!

Anonymous said...

"We are not focused on saving money" ...l just wish we knew what the focus WAS! Is there a prescription you can take for that?

Antard said...

So is the 500k cost to vote going to be paid for out of the 65m?
What happens when it does not pass? Is Jackson on the hook for it?

Anonymous said...

Lest you all forget: if Feel Good Phil would have signed the Ed Dept's takeover of JPS like he said he would, none of this would be happening. Nor would there be a bunch of studying of the problem.

Anonymous said...

Can't pay the $500 they want to waste out if bond proceeds - whether it passes or not, Jackson taxpayers will be screwed by JPS - but as much as they have screwed us all these past several years by not caring what things cost or worrying about controlling expenditures, I guess they operate on the assumption that they can do as they please. Poor taxpayers are only supposed to pay whatever bill they send them.

Hopefully the exposure of this attitude might rattle enough cages that we say "NO" - not until someone with reason gets put in charge. And it obviously isn't Phildo's plan and appointees.

Anonymous said...

I wonder how long the neighborhood around JA, the CCJ area and Eastover have left? The crime, the roads, the inevitable tax increases to pay for schools that never improve. Anyone who lives in a Jackson knows that private school tuition must be figured into home price, just like real estate taxes, HOA dues and homeowners insurance, I predict fewer people will pay for the privilege of living in Jackson, every year.

Anonymous said...

Kingfish, I seem to remember a comment in one of your columns about the 2006 $150 million JPS bond referendum that stated that the election had to be separate and not combined on a ballot with other items. Not that I'm in favor of that by any means. Is there something to that?

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous said...Ridgeland is a part of the Madison County School District which includes Madison, Flora and most of the rest of the county. Only Canton has its own separate school system. June 12, 2018 at 3:37 PM"

Explain relevance, please. Thanks.

But let me fix it for you by adding....."And only Canton is perennially failing or close to failing."

Anonymous said...

734, if you remembrance is from a comment on JJ, or a comment on any other social media site - don't bet the ranch on it. Or, if it is based on a statement from Dilbert's office, don't bet the ranch on that either. While Dilbert has stated that it cant be on the November ballot, it's probably because they don't realize that there are differing laws for bond elections than those for people elections.

Neither social media commentators nor Gilbert base their opinions on the law - just what they think the law might, or should, be. Would suggest checking the statutes instead if you want the correct answer.

Anonymous said...

USA TODAY: 50 worst US cities to reside in

Jackson is also one of the more dangerous Southern cities. There were 856 violent crimes reported per 100,000 residents in 2016, more than twice the national violent crime rate.

Like many areas with low incomes and high violent crime, Jackson has been losing residents. While the U.S. population grew 3.7% between 2011 and 2016, the number of Jackson residents declined by the same amount -- the largest population decline in Mississippi and the 14th largest decrease of any major city in the country.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Governor, for giving us citizens of Jackson such a great organization that controls the spending of hundreds of millions of tax dollars. One that is not worried about costs, isn't concerned about expenses. One that feels that a half million dollars pi$$ed down the drain is worth it for less than three months time. If this isn't evidence enough that the great new concept that overrode the MDE recommendation is a farce, I'm not sure what is. Thanks for such great leadership.

Anonymous said...

Lord, have mercy! (& I mean that literally).

Anonymous said...

Bryant must have been hoping for the Nobel Peace Prize when he wiggled his way out of declaring JPS a hopeless case.

Cynical observer said...

I am sure those those comments were "taken out of context," or even "misquoted."

What he meant was as stewards of public funds, they take that responsibility very seriously.

Further comment were delayed while deposits were made in a bank in the Cayman Islands.

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