Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Vote on Rankin County school bond issue today

Rankin County residents will vote on a $178.5 million school bond issue today.   The Rankin County School District has been plagued by overcrowding for quite some time.  A $169 million bond referendum failed five years ago amid much criticism for dedicating 10% of the proceeds towards athletic facilities. New RCSD Superintendent Dr. Sue Townsend said the district learned from that failure and tried to propose a bond issue that reflected the true needs of Rankin County students. 

She said the district tried to be fair to all eight Rankin County communities when it selected projects that will be funded by the bond issue.  She said the first goal of the bond issue is to "wipe out" all portable buildings.  She said her administration tried to be as transparent as possible and went on a listening tour to all eight communities.  She commissioned a demographic study of Rankin County so district needs could be determined.

The bond issue will ease overcrowding at schools in the Northwest Rankin Attendance Zone.  NW Rankin High School has 1,700 students even though its capacity is only 1,300.  A new high school will be built and the ninth grade at NW Rankin Middle School will occupy the current middle school. The sixth, seventh, and eighth grades will move to the current high school. There are 30 T-buildings at NW Rankin.   However, Brandon will also enjoy some relief as the 16 new classrooms will be added to the middle school while 24 new classrooms are added to the high school.  10 classrooms will be added to Florence High School while all three Richland schools will get six classrooms.

She also said no bond funds would be spent on athletics except for building a dressing facility at Puckett High School.  Highway 18 separates the football stadium from the current one.  Parents must stand in the middle of the highway six times during each game to hold back traffic. 

Facility Analysis Highlights
*Student Population increased 4,550 in last 15 years.
*Total enrollment is over 19,000
*182 T-Buildings are used
*Dining facilities are running at 126% capacity

Bond Information
Bond amount: $178.5 million
Amortization period: 23 years
Professional Service Fees: $1.5 million
Interest rate: 3%
Bonding Capacity: $185 million

Estimated Property Tax Increase
$100,000 home: $50/yr, $4.17/mo., 
$150,000 home: $75/yr, $6.25/mo.
$200,000 home: $100/yr, $8.33/mo.
$250,000 home: $125/yr, $10.42/mo.

Current Tax Rates of Local School Districts (Increase not included)
Rankin County: 51.55
Madison County: 54.55
Pearl: 60.4
Hinds County: 67
Clinton: 67.87
Jackson: 84.59

Bond Professional Service Fees 
Bond Counsel (Lord Snow): $70,000
Financial Advisor (Government Consultants): $78,000
Board Attorney: $51,200
Underwriter (Morgan Stanley): $950,000
Ratings Agencies (S&P and Moody's): $80,000
Mississippi Development Bank: $150,000
Trustee (Paying agent): $10,000
Miscellaneous (2nd issue, cushion, etc.): $110,000

List of projects and scope of work

Brandon Middle & High School: Page 3
NW Rankin High School & feeders: Pages 3,4


Anonymous said...

The reason there is no athletic funds in this bond issue is because RCSD has already paid / committed funds to the athletic facilities from other funding sources. Hence, taxpayers are still footing the bill for the same athletic facilities that they opposed a few years ago. Per the RCSD's audited financial statements between 2014-2016, you will see that the RCSD has already spent or committed to spend a minimum $15,461,552 toward athletic facilities. This $15,461,552 only accounts for projects started in one fiscal year and completed in another. It doesn't include improvements started and completed within the same year. So, I'm sure the actual number is larger. During the next election cycle, vote for a new board that will actually put students and taxpayers ahead of athletic programs.

Kingfish said...

The District had no regulation track 5 years ago. I'm sure you'd be screaming bloody murder if the track teams went to JSU to practice.

Anonymous said...

If we just had a lottery, then all our school bond problems would disappear like a fart in a tornado!

Look at how wonderful Memphis schools are because they have Mississippians crossing the border to fund their schools through sales of scratch-offs!

The Legislature needs to let us live like grown-ass people and make our own grown-ass choices!

Anonymous said...

Dude--what planet are you from? We are in Mississippi where the two highest paid persons are football coaches; where our citizens/fans cheer sports heroes more than American heroes; where we provide more in-depth coverage of athletic issues than true social issues; where people are willing to spends hundreds and even thousands for a weekend of drinking booze under a tent and watching mediocre football teams play. We luvs us some sports. Hell, most of the schools wouldn't even exist if not for the football programs.

PittPanther said...

Nothing for Pisgah?

Anonymous said...

I am not in a position to judge whether the district needs athletic facility improvements just like you are not in a position to judge me. Most students will earn a living by learning to read and write so I do not care where the track teams practice. The last bond issue was mostly rejected due to the athletic improvements. The board knew that the bond issue may not pass if the same athletic facilities were included in this bond issue. They committed to the athletic improvements prior to attempting to pass this bond issue so that they could say it does not include any athletic improvements. The priority should have been classroom improvements prior to athletic improvements. If the board should be more accountable to the students and taxpayers.

Anonymous said...

Pisgah has committed $144,973 for football stadium bleachers.

golferinmississippi said...


Pisgah's 843 students get 9.5 million, 2 million at the Elementary and 7 million at the high school.

Anonymous said...

A few points to ponder.

The main building at Brandon Middle(Old Brandon High) was built in 1935.

Brandon's new HS foot ball facilities replace an old football stadium that had a concrete wall no less than 10' from the sidelines and has been out of regulation and dangerous for years. The majority of the new facilities have been funded through private dollars.

The proposed increase is roughly $50/$100k of property taxes. If $50/$100/$150 annual is going to break you, then you have other issues.

The only sports related earmark is for a field house at Puckett where they have to walk across HWY 18 to get to the football stadium and its a safety issue.

If you want to have nicer things for your kids then you have to pay for it. I saw an interview on TV last night with a guy who is apposed to the increase...while standing at a nice park in Flowood. I wonder where those funds came from? God forbid we don't try and help ourselves. Rankin County's property taxes are some of the lowest in the state and we have nice things. Think what we can do with a little more.

And for the record you can consider me "old rankin county" and have been here since before it became a trendy place to live and the growth hit. I have no kids, and I voted yes.

Anonymous said...

What do you pissy-bitchers have against athletic programs at the high school (or lower) level? Just because your daughter didn't make cheerleader or you never played football and you never had a date to an after-game dance, give it a break. A large percentage of parents do prefer sports, band and other extra-curricular activities for our children.

Anonymous said...

You are correct. We love sports. You may not believe it, but I love sports too. However, there are things in life more important than sports such as a good education in a quality environment. Many people place athletics above education. Maybe, that is one of many reasons that Mississippi ranks toward the bottom in most categories.

Anonymous said...

The last bond issued was defeated as a repudiation of the last superintendent as much, if not more, than the heavy lean toward athletic facilities. Clearly, Townsend knew that. The information she gained during the campaign, as well as with the townhalls, is reflected in the messaging and project list this time.

Anonymous said...

Pisgah's earmark is a little over $9.5 mil.

Anonymous said...

The list of items for each specific school, in each specific attendance zone, has been published in the Rankin County papers, as well as listed on the Rankin County Schools' webpage. The information has been readily available so that everyone could see where the money was going all across the county.

Anonymous said...

I never said that I am against the bond issue or athletic programs. I played multiple sports growing up and believe they are important. I am for the improvements at Puckett. Safety first... I am against the priority in which everything was handled. Anyway, I'm not hear to argue. Have a good day.

Don't Make Me Dress Out Coach! said...

2:00 may actually believe sports activities are peculiar to Mississippi schools. Every school in the southeast (and perhaps the country) has athletic programs with very few exceptions, most of them being church-schools. How can it be said that Mississippi is odd in this category and that's the 'reason we're last'? That's a familiar chant of those who have nothing else to say.

Look at high schools in Louisiana, Tennessee, Alabama, Arkansas, Texas, Florida and tell me Mississippi places a higher value on sports than on education. You simply have no idea what you're talking about. You simply were afraid of being smacked upside the head by a rubber dodge-ball in gym class 35 years ago.

Anonymous said...

KINGFISH it is important to note the number of athletic facilities that have been updated with artificial turf since the bond issue. It is also important to note the first bond issue included 50 million dollars of things that were not in line items.

All athletic facilities have been updated instead of classrooms. Shameful in all accounts to all involved on the Rankin county school board.

Plain ol' Catfish said...

@ Kingfish

Current Tax Rates of Local School Districts (Increase not included)
Rankin County: 51.55
Madison County: 54.55
Pearl: 60.4
Hinds County: 67
Clinton: 67.87
Jackson: 84.59

Is this why car tags are sky high in Jackson!?

Mr. 2-Bits said...

Anon at 1:20
"During the next election cycle, vote for a new board that will actually put students and taxpayers ahead of athletic programs.?

Students and taxpayers don't benefit from school athletic programs? You lost me there.

Anonymous said...

Just for the record, if you analyze the various school earmark amounts on a "per capita" basis, you find that Pisgah and Pelahatchie take home the lion's share of the bond proceeds. The "little schools" have been taken care of in this bond issue. This is a win for Rankin County and about time. Let the Rankin haters hate on.

Anonymous said...

Interesting that most of these artificial fields that people were crowing about ten years ago as being cost savers are being dug up and replaced.

Anonymous said...

I'm in favor of putting education first, says the person who says "I'm not HEAR to argue."

Lumumba X 2 said...

There is already a 2% sales tax added to the State's 7% sales tax of purchases in the City of Brandon. Go look at a receipt in your pocket if you don't believe me. As for the vote, I'll abstain. I'm sure of the outcome without considering the Russians. I have no children and already paying more than $450 in property taxes earmarked specifically for the schools. That's taxation without representation in my book!

Pappy O'Daniel said...

This bond is a bad deal. The county is still paying for the last two bonds...maybe if we weren't lying the debt service in those there would be more money in the coffers. Second, if you look at all the projects it is obvious this is largely deferred maintenance and cost shifting from the oh so swuft Grumpy Farmer crowd. It's all about them being part of the Big Game with their bond counsel and bank yo-yo's. There's a motto in the Air Force when they build new installations..."build the golf course first". Because when you run out of money you always get the runway funded if there isn't enough for it. That's exactly what the board has done here, paid for all of the athletics and their 7 million dollar offices first and left the kids in portables to hold them hostage for the bond issue...it's all about the kids man!

Anonymous said...

Why is it that when a business collects more sales per square foot that it becomes more efficient, but when a county collects more taxes per square foot it becomes less efficient? Why can't the normal budget cover these improvements?

Anonymous said...

6:29 - For the same reason 'the normal budget' can't cover road rebuilding in any county in the state. Typically that requires a bond issue. What school district do you think has multiple extra millions sitting around just waiting to be budgeted for improvements?

Anonymous said...

If we can give a raise and extension to a football coach that already makes 4 million a year after a 5-7 season, can't we approve a bond issue for our kids?

Pappy Odaniel said...

The roads and the schools have one thing in common...no government entity wants to maintain them. They'll build new roads to open up their buddies' landlocked property and theyll build a new school outside of 16 Section land on their buddies property that was landlocked but lo and behold has a road on it now. I kept hearing about school roofs the last few weeks and how expensive they are to replace...well how many insurance claims were filed by RCSD after the hail storm from hell a few years ago that backed up body shops for a year with dinged up cars...not a one. But later they have a leaky rough that destroys classrooms and we need to BUY a new roof.

Anonymous said...

A strong school system benefits everyone. Property values increase and businesses have an incentive to move to the area, which offers more services to the general public. It's completely asinine that people think they shouldn't pay their fair share for education because they don't have a child enrolled in the county schools. I don't commute as far as the average person, but I still pay my share for roads, bridges, and highways. If someone hasn't budgeted for a tax increase of $4 per month per $100,000, they should strongly reconsider if home ownership is really 'their thing'.

Anonymous said...

Looks like an easy win.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Rankin County. Looks like 75% agreed with me versus the people that think any tax is bad. Wellington & Associates would like to tell the people the leaky roofs were filed on insurance claims. People on this blog know not of what they speak. 34 year old with no kid speaking. You want nice things you have to pay for them. If you want cameros on blocks, vote no.

Anonymous said...

4:01 Not interesting at all when you consider the wear and tear from all sports. 8-10 years is the normal life span of synthetic playing surfaces.

Anonymous said...

Many people don't realize much of the misappropriations were under Weathersby's reign. The "Grumpy Farmer crowd" worked hard to get him out of control, and it's worked.

The 3-18-13 hail storm only affected 1-3 schools.

Some people will spew a lot of misinformation to sound like they know what they are talking about.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations to the RCSD administration and school board on a well-run campaign. Also congratulations to the RCSD Foundation on an excellent get-out-the-vote effort. The Foundation President, Michael Guest (our DA), did a great job.

Anonymous said...

What's interesting about RCSD is the fact that enrollment has been going down for about 5 years now with no projections to grow from the school board even as the county has continued to grow.

Anonymous said...

Hey, 8:38, where have you been the last 8 years while the community organizer superintended over the only presidency in history where not one single year thereof saw annual GDP growth of at least 3%? Just in the past few months, Rankin County is experiencing a significant spike in planned development activity. The growth will return, perhaps not to the levels seen during the great white flight out of Jackhole during the 1990s and 2000s, but growth nonetheless.

Anonymous said...

Enrollment has increased every year! The schools have no room and the bond issue will help with future growth needs. Some of the "facts" here are totally incorrect.

Anonymous said...

Please. There is no comparison linking a Division 1 SEC coach's salary with a local school bond issue. But thanks for displaying your misunderstanding of that fact.

If you want to know how and from what sources such salaries are paid, you are free to Google: Coach Hugh Freeze (or Dan Mullen) Salary sources Mississippi IHL.

Anonymous said...

Rankin know that you have been duped. The schools paid for the turf and did not invest one dollar on expanding classrooms. The artificial turf that was put out now needs to be replaced. You paid for Brandon HS football field to be more accessible. You paid for locker rooms and batting cages and all the other crap that does not teach your kid how to read a book or think on their own. You paid for it don't believe me? Ask kingfish to research every bit of turf that was installed in Rankin county over the past 8 years. Ask him to research the locker room facilities that were built. Ask him to research the stands that were built using your tax dollars.

For The Dodge-Ball Dropouts.. said...

The jockstrap sniffer at 5:03 seems to be angry for some reason.

What the hell is wrong with a large school attracting thousands of students, with stellar scholars and remarkable athletes having stands, lockers, and ball fields?

Good Gott Almighty!

Anonymous said...

@5:03: Instead of expanding classrooms, the district has paid at least $15 million in athletic facilities since 2014. We need a new board.

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