Monday, August 6, 2018

Editorial: Say No to Tax Hikes & Fleecings Tomorrow

The JPS bondfest is in full swing. We just have to borrow another $65 million. It’s all for the children. Who can be against education? Don’t worry, JPS officials say, they screwed up before, but they’ll get it right this time. JPS School Board President Dr. Jean Hairston cited horror story after horror story last week on in a column published in the Clarion-Ledger. Unfortunately for the rest of us, they have not proved they can be trusted with our money.

JPS leaders discovered they could borrow $65 million when the same amount of debt rolled off the books this year. JPS did not have a complete list of projects but darned if they didn’t want to borrow that money.

The first list of projects was only $30 million – far short of the $65 million. After much backlash, JPS magically provided a list of projects equating to $65 million. However, MDE required repairs that only cost $16 million. JPS simply decided to max out the credit card and figure out what to purchase with it after the fact. Such thinking is what got JPS in trouble in the first place but then again, financial responsibility has never been associated with JPS.

Dr. Hairston and her friends are fond of saying the bond issue will not raise taxes. Unfortunately, they are hoping people forget their property taxes will be lowered by five mills if the bond issue fails.

Suppose Bo has $500 monthly car note he pays off in March. His monthly expenses fall $500. He buys that shiny SUV and finances it with a $500 per month car note in November. His monthly bills went up by $500. Using JPS math, his monthly expenses did not increase, reality be damned.

Think I’m being too hard on JPS? Check out the “professional service fees” paid out to the bond lawyers and advisors on this deal. The fees go straight to them and were estimated to be $1.1 million for this deal. Unfortunately for JPS, the Rankin County School District paid less than $900,000 a year ago for its $100 million bond issue.

Butler Snow only charged Rankin County $47,000 to serve as bond counsel. JPS “estimates” its fee to Butler Snow to be $220,000 for the same services. Rankin County paid Government Consultants $52,000 to act as its financial advisor. Guess what the estimate is for JPS. $207,500. Other than race, what is so special about JPS? Is this a bond issue or a slush fund?

JPS has a history of getting fleeced on bond deals. JPS refinanced its 2008 bond issue two years ago. The bond fees were “only” $538,146 in 2008 yet jumped to $1.2 million in the 2016 refinancing of $118 million. The increase in fees, nearly $750,000, was more than last year’s maintenance budget of $500,00 for JPS*. How many school books for schoolchildren could have been purchased for that $750,00? How many bathrooms could have been fixed? Even the Siemen’s deal had much lower fees: $640,000 for a $90 million issue, a bargain in comparison. The Jackson Convention Center refinanced $65 million of bonds in 2013 for fees of only $381,000. It is thus easy to believe Dr. Hairston when she said JPS was not focused on saving money in this bond deal at a press conference. No wonder JPS refused to provide a Clarion-Ledger reporter with a list of the “estimated” bond fees.

JPS receives more property tax revenue than ever as it increased from $79 million in 2007 to $95.4 million in 2017. Meanwhile the student population declined during the same time frame from 31,191 to 26,206 students.

There is also no proof that JPS has managed to get its financial house in order. Only 40 percent of JPS employees are teachers. Better-rated school district usually employ a workforce that is 50 percent teachers. JPS is top-heavy yet no move has been made to get rid of the suits. There are only 97 students for every JPS administrator. Meanwhile there are 246 students for every administrator at larger Desoto County School District and 183 students for every administrator in Rankin County. Starting to see why the bond supporters rarely mention actual numbers while screaming “it’s for the children?”

Even Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba said he would like to see teachers make up 60% of the JPS workforce. JPS somehow missed his memo yet wants you to give it more money. What was said about Louis XVII learning nothing while forgetting everything?

There are no such thing as bad soldiers, just bad leaders. Make no mistake, Jackson schoolchildren need help and too many schools are in bad shape. Unfortunately, Jackson’s children have suffered bad leaders for far too long. The people leading JPS are not bad fellows when they stick to education, but they are in over their heads when it comes to the business of running a public school district. Such financial illiteracy is what got JPS in trouble in the first place.

Rankin County voters rejected a pork-filled school bond issue and approved a better one. Jackson voters should do the same, ignore the horror stories, and tell JPS next week to go back to the drawing board and return with something we can support before it tries to raise our taxes.

*Ms. Sharolyn Miller said that in a reply to Ward 1 Councilman Ashby Foote at a City Council meeting.





63 comments:

Anonymous said...

Can you imagine how gidddy a person(s) would become after falling into $65,000,000.00 USD with little or no oversight?

Anonymous said...

Kingfish, you've fought the good fight appealing to common sense and numbers. The emotional argument of "save the children", however, will be heard louder by those who wish to remain uninformed.

Of course JPS teachers and staff are behind this - likely under the false hope they too will receive a pay increase the administration did under the last bond issued.

Anonymous said...

More Tom Head:

You’d have less to worry about re: Jackson politics in general if you relied less on dubious sources like Jackson Jambalaya and more on mainstream journalism.
~~~~~
... there is not enough time to prepare and vote on a narrower referendum that provides for the specific mandated MDE audit changes, ...


THEN there this totally made up unsubstantiated BS:

... you have no basis to say the other $49.5 million “has nothing to do with the audit requirements.” Many of the audit requirements were of a more general character, and could be affected by more general infrastructure spending; the fact that the majority of the expenditures are not tethered to *specific* line items does not mean they’re not relevant to the MDE audit.

AND finally:

You’re making the same mistake Kingfish does: Getting too worked up and missing the details. Slow down and read.

Anonymous said...

Come on you cheap-skates, it's for the children. Dig a little deeper; chase those moths out of your wallets; forgo that new car and spend it on the children.

Besides, the JPS brass need new luxury cars, new imported furniture and artwork, and a fatter expense account for those impotent "lunch meetings" and "dinner meetings" at the CCJ, not to mention those overseas bank accounts need feeding.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure this will bring out the "R" word, but it seems that local bond issues should be voted on by actual local property owners who are ACTUALLY paying the proposed taxes. Why should renters be allowed to vote considering that they don't have to pay any property taxes and can move to another district? Just seems fair.

Anonymous said...

When the bond measure fails Kenneth Stokes will have punked the Lumumba political machine. Winning just 40% of the vote? Very doable.

Anonymous said...

I will vote "YES" for the bond issue as soon as my doorbell rings as promised by JPS and the Mayor. Still waiting....

Anonymous said...

@2:54 pm. That would leave about 600 of you voting.

Anonymous said...

Vote the damn thing down. Maybe by November they can come up with a legitimate bond issue to vote on.

Anonymous said...

Property owners that lease should have prepared a document for their tenants warning them that their rent would increase each month to offset the increased taxes. That will help the renters to foot this bond bill.

Anonymous said...

Just to be clear, many if not most (Republican as well as Democrat) local politicians have played this little shell game where they bring on new debt when old debt is expiring and the proudly proclaim at election time, "I didn't never vote to raise anybody's taxes." And, all the fools believed.

Anonymous said...

Again, Kingfish, do you actually care about educating black children? Do you mentor in the schools?

Anonymous said...

Go to minute 19:00 and get your popcorn. See how the bond issue is being debated in Natchez. Board Member West is YouTube star in the making.

https://vimeo.com/226391282

Anonymous said...

Tom Head is the racist one. He believes black folks are too ignorant to think for themselves and so he has to coddle them and show them the "way."

Anonymous said...

It will pass easily. The problem is that everybody with kids in the system will show up and vote. And turnout will be low amount those that don’t support or don’t care.

Anonymous said...

The black children of Jackson are NOT getting educated by JPS.That is the entire point here.

Anonymous said...

All you naysayers will be as mad as the Tweeter in Cheif is about his media coverage.

Anonymous said...

“Mentor in the schools”? The very fact that there is such a thing needed is proof that the kids they’re trying to shove, drag, nudge through the system just...are not very good material to work with. When most of us KF readers were growing up, schools did their jobs, and outside volunteer help was not needed—-except for room mothers to bring cupcakes. Now they need people to come in and help kids with basic stuff their teachers can’t teach, or that they are too unmotivated to learn?

I happened to be visiting the zoo on the day there was some JPS back-to-school event or other, and the crowd was a sight to behold. The cacophony of terrible grammar was appalling. Not sure where a “mentor” would even begin.

Anonymous said...

3:46, Are you suggesting that JPS DOES care about educating black children?

Anonymous said...

Are these G. O. bonds with the full faith and credit of the City backing them?

JPS parent said...

This school board is different from past school boards. They are smart and committed to doing what's best for the students. It's hard to turn an aircraft carrier quickly, but slowly, they are turning it. They will hire an outstanding new superintendent and this bond issue will make sure they have the resources to upgrade the district's facilities. I know most of y'all live in the white flight suburbs (based on your comments), so your opposition to the bond issue is irrelevant. Those of you who live in Jackson, visit the schools in your neighborhood and see what condition they are in. Bailey is an A-rated school, yet a whole wing of the school is unusable. The stadium behind the school has been closed after part of the stands collapsed. Many JPS teams use that field. I trust the school board to make the central office more efficient. They need the resources to improve our schools.

Anonymous said...

MDE "audits" are pure garbage. Feds need to get involved. There must be objective/independent audits looking to where every line-time penny goes. Enter, Shad White, super-sleuth? Time will tell. Then turn it over to Mike Hurst. Bogus numbers reported by MDE in every district with the supervisors clinging to dear life that no one finds out.

Anonymous said...

5:03, you're wrong. I am a Jackson tax payer. I pay truly exorbitant property taxes and absolutely astronomical car tags, and for this I get F-rated schools and dilapidated, neglected infrastructure.

It's not a lack of money. It's incompetence, or corruption, or both.

JPS has been bringing in record revenue while student numbers are continually dropping. They should have plenty of money IF they would manage it, but they won't. Too easy to blow right through it and shake us down for more.

You're right that the schools are in pathetic shape, but again, this is NOT due to lack of money. This is due to money being squandered on everything and anything (consultants, bond fees, administration...) OTHER than the classroom.

99.6% of the JPS budget is spent on things other than infrastructure maintenance. Nearly 100%! And less than half is spent in the classroom! That is a crime!! Why do you imagine this time will be any different? JPS administration will blow the money on themselves and their cronies, just like they always do. Kids will get screwed, just like they always do.

I'm voting no. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results.

Anonymous said...

@ 5:03
I'm voting NO tomorrow and I'm encouraging anyone else with any common sense to do the same!!! I do live in NE Jackson and my children go to a school much more diverse than the JPS school district. Your being critical of the people in the burbs and yet there schools are much more diverse as well that. Your $hitty district. Your either unaware of most private schools demographics as well as the suburban schools demographics. Seriously, your being critical based on there race and your the parent sending kids to a 99% one color school district. It's too funny!!!

Anonymous said...

JPS parent:

New school board--higher bond fees than previous issues and bond issues in other districts.
JPS board president "we are not interested in saving money"

you comments please

Thank you

(when is this new superintendent coming aboard)

Anonymous said...

Paranoid Head:

If the anti-school crowd can pull in even 40% to vote against JPS funding, they’ll be able to sabotage the district’s attempt to comply with the MDE audit and effectively cancel our accreditation. That’s why some of the local right-wing blogs have made fighting the bond issue their main focus right now: It’s the best chance they’ve had in years to kill JPS.

Watching My Pennies.. said...

So, what's the problemo?

I have 19 years left on my 30 year home mortgage and pay $1019 per month. We've already refinanced the original loan of $114,000 four times and only owe $136,000 now.

I got a note from the bank telling me I could reduce my payment by $116 per month if I would take advantage of the new, lower rate so I jumped on it! $116 a month in savings will be a blessing and it's like free money.

I'm cool with my new note of $903 for 30 more years. My banker is my friend.

Perkn said...

why doesn't jps show us what they did with the last time they got bond money? they don't want us to know! yes, supporters will say that was the old administration, but the new folks haven't made any corrections of the past administration that make a true difference. bad financial and business decisions, now and then. if it passes, more money will be wasted. come on Phil, you must recant and take over if the bill passes. dont waste our money on a helpless cause. this administration has no vision, financial intelligence, or personal drive to make the tough decisions to make jps succeed.

Anonymous said...

Good Lord...what idiot would vote yes. Look at the numbers. Dealing with children here.

Perkn said...

7:15, this is a joke or you work for jps! your banker friend must also be a financialconsultant for jps. let's see? pay 325k or 134k? you picked the larger. do any supporters think this is a wise financial decision? not i

Perkn said...

7:15, this is a joke or you work for jps! your banker friend must also be a financialconsultant for jps. let's see? pay 325k or 134k? you picked the larger. do any supporters think this is a wise financial decision? not i

Sam Brookes said...

Vote NO tomorrow. This is a ripoff.

Anonymous said...

You can always count on Butler Snow and Leroy "Barbour" to come through in a crunch. NO FEE is too great. Perhaps we would be better off to take the bond money to fund and move the Zoo. We would get a better return on our investment.

Anonymous said...

By this time tomorrow everyone will know that no one listens to Kenny Stokes and his buddies on here

Anonymous said...

It’s a perfect setup. The bond issue will pass easily. White property owners in Jackson pay virtually all the costs of “educating” African- American students in Jackson. And receive nothing in return.

Anonymous said...

You got 65Ml and couldn't fix bathrooms at Newal and Hughes fields, why should we trust you to fix the tennis courts or baseball pitch or any other schools baseball or band program?

Anonymous said...

Yes Perkn, 7:15 is joking. Context clues and common sense are amiss in JPS education.

Anonymous said...

@ 7:13
JPS did this by themselves. They are race baiters and turned down a generous offer from Barksdale of paying 100k towards new superintendent candidate... however the easier board and all black school turned him down so whitey wouldn't interfere with there plans. So they hired that half minded slack a$$ Cedric gray... remember the pervert with the gay bow tie. Yes you did this all on your own and play the race card... suck my a$$.. don't knock on my door in belhaven again.

Anonymous said...

Tom Head,
Your a total dummy... seriously, race baiter white guilt carrying airbag. Waste your time on Jackson jambalaya? WTF are you doing here in that case... you mean a reliable source like the Jackson free press? I hand it out to homeless people to wipe there a$$ with.. or do you mean fake a$$ news like Huffington post or failing Washington post or CNN.. I mean damn... your a interesting study if those are your sources. Way to approach things from all angles. You libtard clueless weak minded fool.

Kingfish said...

People who don't understand numbers are usually the ones who say ignore the numbers. Such is a learned idiot such as Tom Head. Notice how he uses all the code words: right-wing, etc. He doesn't debate the actual points, he just engages in histrionics. We want to "kill" JPS. Yeah, right. What Mr. Head doesn't like is someone is actually trying to hold JPS accountable while he tries to protect corruption and malfeasance that has existed for a long time in the Jackson public school system.

I guess Kenneth Stokes, David Archie, Tony Yarber, Eyes Wide Shut, and a bevy of other black community activists are all right-wing bloggers too. Its a bit of a surprise he didn't call them Uniform Tangos. It would be fitting for someone so learned.

Anonymous said...

Tom Head is an absolute racist as is Donna ladd... my gosh, look at how they speak about minorities... they basically think whites are supreme and blacks can't think for themselves. It's sickening. They don't believe all men are created equal and they only see color not individuals. It's a bad mentality to have.

Anonymous said...

I've applied for a certain type of position in JPS about 10 times. I was interviewed the first time I applied, and never since then (I'm white). I know of a few of the people that have beat me out for the jobs, and I was more qualified.

VOTE NO

Anonymous said...

I will give Tom and Donna $1K each to teach a full year at somewhere like Lanier or Wingfield.

Sadly they think Murrah and Casey are like the rest of JPS. Why they can't figure out why Murrah has a wait list unlike the other JPS high schools I will never know.

Anonymous said...

Why can't we all debate without so much hate?

Anonymous said...

Vote yes.

Invest in children’s futures.

Quit being so damn negative.

Anonymous said...

False Narrative Head:

I think we can win this thing, but I also think it’s going to be a lot closer than folks have been projecting; social media is playing a larger role in Wards 1 and 7 than I’d anticipated, where Kingfish is telling people the bond will raise their property taxes (it won’t; it just won’t *lower* them, and saying that’s the same thing is like saying Congress raises the income tax every year by not repealing it). It’s incredible, and by incredible I mean weird and disturbing. We’re living in an era of debatable facts, especially when race is involved.

Anonymous said...

@5:09 AM Bless your heart.

Anonymous said...

I know this is a petty matter but it was stated on the radio that Tray Hairston, a bond lawyer at Butler Snow, is a relative of the School Board President Jeanne Hairston. As JJ has reported, Butler Snow, whose offices are in Ridgeland, is charging an exorbitant fee for a relatively simple transaction. There are several Jackson based firms who could have performed the work including Watkins and Eager, Jim Young, Brunini, and Jones Walker. What happened?

Kingfish said...

That's somewhat racist of him. This website has a large black readership. Funny how he's calling me racist on this issue but the black talk show hosts have been asking me to come to their shows and churches to talk about this.

Kingfish said...

Not just Jackson firms but plenty of firms. Get the best deal.

Theca Jones said...

I'm voting "yes" only to make you mad, Kingfish.

Anonymous said...

Tray Hairston is not related to Jeanne Hairston.

Anonymous said...

The Governor Phil didn't have the balls to take over the Jackson Public School District! He should have done it when the State Board of Education declared an emergency existed! Never had, never will!

Anonymous said...

Did Kenneth I. Stokes ever say whether or not he will vote for or against the bond issue? I know he was demanded promises from the school board that everything on the list be completed but I never heard whether or not he got his promise. I need to know so I know how I (and the rest of us KISasses) will know how to vote.

Anonymous said...

The state whiffed at being responsible and taking over jps.

Reap what you sow.

The district needs funds to rebuild and improve their physical product.

The real answer lies well outside this debate.

Moving jps students with the Rankin and Madison schools is the long term solution.

Together we can learn and adapt.

Separated we have....well...this segregated hate filled finger pointing cesspool.....

Anonymous said...

Does Ashby Foote know there is q bond issue vote today? The guy is truly worthlesss!!! I give stokes credit for informing his ward of the shady deal of the bond issue. Foote just drives around with his head up his arse meanwhile his ward is paying the bills. You can't make this stuff up

Anonymous said...


Who will be counting the votes?

I don't think Ray Charles is available.

Anonymous said...

Well Ashby is a money manager by trade and I'm sure that he has dealt with a lot of bond attorneys all during his career. I'm sure that he has recommended
bond attorneys to his clients, such as the State Treasury and others!

Anonymous said...

Get over yourself Melvin. You're not remotely that important.

Anonymous said...

How in the world does Jackson have 81 voting precincts and the methodology in polling this population is recorded on paper? That's efficient right? Wow, talk about the opportunity for voter fraud.

Also, out of 169k people who claim Jackson as their home, an average of 34k people voted in the last democratic primary. How many of those people own their own home in Jackson? This tax burden is going to fall on the land owner right? Good call. We know our landlords will pass this right down don't we? Lets raise rent even higher Jackson!

Regardless, I am certain its going to pass with flying colors.

Anonymous said...

Spoken like a true socialist 7:47am....everyone equal....equally miserable. Tear down the successful to make the non-successful not feel as bad. Of course, I am sure your kids go to a private school. No way in hell they attend a Madison or Rankin public school, or you wouldn't be spouting such foolishness.

Anonymous said...

So... voted (against) the bond - not because I don't want student to learn and have a good environment but because the $ going to JPS are clearly hijacked from student services. Those that rob from needy kids will get payback. I cannot believe I dropped my vote in a basically unsecured box with 3 "poll workers" who clearly had an agenda. I wish the masses would realize that the JPS crew does not care about them, just about lining their pockets. So sad - so many kids being underserved when the money is there - just being used by admins to play golf, eat dinner, and travel. Check the JPS expense reports. It is a hot mess.

Anonymous said...

Even the JPS School Board can't use local attornies. The City has decided not to use local companies too. This is really bad practice.

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Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).


Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.


In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

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This is definitely a Beaver production.


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If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

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