Jacksonville Pushes For Another Bond Election

Last September, Jacksonville voters said 'no' to a 62.5 million dollar bond package to build three new schools and renovate others. Now, the district is taking a more conservative approach, putting just two propositions on the November ballot.

Proposition 1 is a $14.5 million dollars package to replace Joe Wright Elementary and upgrade the roof and air conditioning at the middle school.

Proposition 2 is for $12.5 million dollars and would replace East Side Elementary. Proposition 2 can only pass if voters approve proposition 1.

Because of state aid, if proposition 1 passes, property taxes would drop by 35 cents over the next two years. If both propositions pass, property taxes would go down by 26 cents over two years.

The district says both East Side and Joe Wright Elementary schools are serving hundreds of more students than they should. Teachers say the cramped quarters create some challenges in the classroom environment.

Mary Vardaman teaches 2nd grade at East Side Elementary and says, "We are constantly trying to figure out a way to make things more accomodating for the kids. We rearrange furniture all the time."

Superintendent Stuart Bird say, "It's a matter of growth and expansion and trying to get new technology, more electricity into those buildings. Things have changed since those schools were designed."

The figures for the bond election only cover construction costs. If approved, the schools will be built on existing land the district owns, or the district will purchase new land.

Lindsay Wilcox/Reporting: lwilcox@kltv.com