Survey: Oxonians favor school bond

Published 12:00 pm Tuesday, July 26, 2016

A recent survey of about 300 Oxford citizens showed more than half would support a $23 million bond to help build new schools and improve existing schools.

Dan Davis with Southern Research Group of Jackson presented the findings to the Oxford School Board Monday night.

The telephone survey asked 300 registered voters a variety of questions including how they felt the Oxford School District was performing, whether its facilities were adequate and whether they could support the $23 million bond.

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Of the 300 residents interviewed, 71.3 percent of the respondents said they have no children under the age of 18 who reside in the Oxford Public School district.

When asked if they would support the bond without further information given, 59 percent said they would support it. When the survey explained that the bond would mean homeowners would pay about an additional $20 a year for a home valued at $100,000, 62.3 percent would either strongly or somewhat be in support of the bond. Just over 37 percent said they strongly favored and about 22 percent said they somewhat favored the bond. Thirty-two percent opposed the $23 million bond.

Of those who favored the bond, 22.6 percent said they felt better schools will promote better education; 16.9 percent said it would help overcrowding; 27.1 percent said it would better the future of Oxford’s children; and 18.7 said they felt the facilities needed updating.

Opposition to bond

Of those opposing the bond, 31.3 percent said “a school bond wasn’t needed;” 24 percent said the school district wasn’t managing money; 17.7 said it was because it would raise taxes; and 10.4 percent it was asked too often by the district.

More than 54 percent said they think the school district is headed in the right direction. Nearly three-fourths, or 75 percent, said they felt the leadership of the OSD has done an excellent or good job managing the district. About 48 percent felt the district has done a good job managing money.

About 59 percent said they felt the district’s existing facilities and buildings are adequately meeting the needs of students and do not need improving. About 28 percent said the facilities needed improvements.

Results ‘optimistic’

The last time the school board did a survey before getting a $30 million bond to build the new Oxford High School, 56 percent of those polled then were in favor of the bond, which did pass with 65 percent of the votes in favor of the bond.

“You have a window of opportunity here to move some of these numbers forward,” Davis told the board members. “About 30 percent of these numbers could move either way.”

Marian Barksdale, school board president, said she found the results “optimistic.”

“I think we’re going to mull over these numbers a bit and take it under advisement for right now,” she said at the meeting.