Pearl River County District holds bond referendum information meeting

Published 7:00 am Saturday, March 24, 2018

The Pearl River County School District held a bond referendum informational meeting Thursday evening.

People in attendance had an opportunity to learn more about the proposed $18.5 million bond proposed by the Pearl River County School District. Superintendent Alan Lumpkin said the money will be used for upgrades to facilities at the McNeill and Carriere campuses. Residents who live in the District will have the opportunity to vote on this issue on May 8, at the Safe Room at the Carriere campus. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

At the McNeill Campus, the upgrades the District proposed include the addition of 24 classrooms, expansion of the cafeteria and kitchen area, ADA upgrades, administrative renovations, a new parking area, site drainage, demolition of buildings and architect/engineer fees. All the additions total $8,712,057.

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“We have outgrown our dining area at the cafeteria in the McNeill campus and our plan is to expand both the dining area and the kitchen,” Lumpkin said.

He said the ADA upgrade consists of bringing old buildings up to date and the administrative buildings work would entail the construction of new offices. Lumpkin said one of the office buildings at the McNeill campus is condemned and unsafe, so they will have to tear it down.

Meanwhile at the Carriere campus, some of the upgrades include the construction of a multipurpose building, renovation of the high school library, a new middle school library, classrooms and also ADA upgrades. The total cost of is $9,710,019.

“The multipurpose building is going to be a 1,000 seat auditorium. The building will also include three classrooms,” Lumpkin said.

Pearl River County Student Body Vice President Gage McClinton opened the meeting by saying it’s important the bond passes because the beneficiaries will be the children.

He added that this is the community’s chance to help prepare children for the future.

Warren Bowen, an agent with Triage Facility Consultants LLC, said the facilities in the District range from 13 to 90 years old. He said that at the moment, it is costing taxpayers more money to maintain the current facilities than to build new ones.

If the Bond passes, it will add 7.71 mills to the district’s tax rate. The impact to a homeowner in the Pearl River County School District with an assessed value of $200,000 that is eligible for homestead exemption would see an annual increase of about $154.20. For citizens over 65 or older who qualify for a homestead exemption with a home assessed at $200,000 would see an annual increase of $96.38, according to figures presented at the meeting.

The Pearl River County School District will hold two more community meetings before the date of the election. The first one will take place on April 12 at the Pearl River Central Elementary auditorium and the other will be on May 3 at the Pearl River Central High School gymnasium. Both meetings will begin at 6:30 p.m.

A website has been established to provide additional details and includes a tax calculator. It can be found at