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Lafayette County heads to polls for school bond vote

After months of discussion and planning, decision day has arrived.

Lafayette County voters will head to the polls today to cast their vote for the Lafayette County School District’s bond referendum that looks to build a new elementary school off County Road 406.

The terms of the bond are set at 20 years and $24,000,000, which is 15-percent of the district’s total value. The district said that the cost to a homeowner with property valued at $100,000 is roughly $10 per year over the life of the bond, equal to a 1-mill tax increase.

In various public meetings over the past three months, LCSD has cited overcrowding in the current elementary and middle schools as the primary reason the district is pursuing the bond.

Research conducted by Casey Rogers, President of Innovative Construction Management, showed a 2.5 percent per year increase in the student population, an estimate that is expected only to grow as Lafayette County and Oxford’s populations expand.

“This did not take us by surprise,” LCSD Superintendent Adam Pugh said during a July meeting. “We had some existing debt that we refinanced, knowing that we were going to have to build because we were exceeding our capacity… We’re looking into the future to try to solve this growth problem for many years to come.”

Currently, both the lower elementary, upper elementary and middle schools are all operating at capacity. For the 2018-2019 school year, the district brought in six modular classrooms to help with student overflow. In previous meetings, the district said that if the bond was not passed, they would expect 27 trailers to be placed on the school campuses by 2038 in an effort to find space for all students and classes.

“I don’t think it’s ideal for anyone, but we’re making the most of it,” Lyndsey Cregar, literacy coach at LLES, said in an August report from the EAGLE. “Even in the main building, there’s overcrowding. Everyone deserves their own space. The students deserve to have more space.”

The proposed elementary school will house kindergarten through second grade, while third-grade students will be housed in the current elementary school. Students in grades four through eight will remain in the current middle school, though the bond referendum includes plans to renovate the cafeteria and to add four additional classrooms to accommodate the growing student population.

Polls will remain open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. with voters casting ballots at their usual voting precinct. To locate that precinct, visit http://lafayettems.com/us/elected-officials/election-commission/elections.