Will the November elections include a bond package for Jacksonville Independent School District?

JISD Superintendent Stuart Bird said it is still unknown what type of bond package, if any, will be proposed. However, the board of trustees must decide by Aug. 29, or the bond issue will have to wait until May.

“We will discuss it at our Aug. 28 meeting,” Bird said. “Right now the board members are just out beating the bushes in the community trying to get community feedback.”

Bird said a board meeting is scheduled to be called for 7 a.m. Aug. 9 at Fred Douglass Elementary to discuss the board’s findings and determine if there is enough community interest in the bond election.

“The board represents the community, and they are out in the community more than me. But I still firmly believe that if there’s not enough interest that we shouldn’t be wasting our time,” Bird said.

During the July 24 school meeting, board members disagreed when Bird suggested that the bond issue be put to rest for now because of lack of interest.

“They got after me pretty good, and I do believe it’s our job to try and move the district forward. I’m not giving up. I just want to see some community interest in whatever we are going to do,” Bird said.

The majority of the board disagreed with Bird’s suggestion of waiting on an election. The idea to cut the proposed bond election down to $12-15 million, allowing for one new school and maybe some repairs to another, was popular among board members during the meeting.

“I think that we need to put something forth,” Board member Joe Casey said July 24. “Put it up now and continue to get support. We just need to educate and involve the public. As board members we need to hit the streets and get as much (support) as we can.”

Bird said board members left the meeting ready to do just that — “hit the streets” to garner support and hear concerns about a JISD bond election.

Calling the undertaking of a bond election a “monumental task that consumes our entire lives, 24 hours a day,” Bird said he is willing to work hard for the cause — but he wants to make sure the community is informed and that they support the bond package.

“Even with a bond issue, there is still going to be a tax reduction, and I want them to know that. But the price to do this keeps going up, and it won’t be any cheaper in April,” Bird said.

Bird said about half of the people he has spoken to personally are in favor of including one or two schools on a bond election — however the community is requesting more information be made available.

“That (proving information) is what we’re trying to do, and I’m writing a column (for the Daily Progress) which will give more details and information,” Bird said.

Bird’s column is scheduled to be published within the next two weeks, in the Progress’ Opinion Section.

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