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School Bond Passes, Work Will Start By Late Summer


A surge of voters lined the hall shortly after 5 p.m. last Tuesday to weigh in on the school bond issue.

WATER VALLEY – The Water Valley School Board adopted a resolution at Monday night’s meeting stating the school bond referendum passed, a formality that will allow the bond company to start the process to sell the bonds. Board Chairman Pierce Epes reported it will take approximately two months to sell the bonds and the project will then go out to bid, a 30-day process. Work will start after the bid is awarded and could get underway by late summer.

Epes also expressed gratitude for the community’s support after 93 percent of the voters approved borrowing $6.5 million to make improvements at the schools.

“I would like to take this time to tell the community of Water Valley thank you for the overwhelming support that we received on the bond issue. We had over 870 voters,” Epes said in Monday’s meeting. “We had 817 vote yes for a 93.3 percentage pass rate. I would like to thank the community because when we ask, the community seems to always come through and they came through in a huge way.”

Epes comments came mid-way through the meeting that also included a report from Dr. Charles Harrison on the search for a new superintendent. Harrison told the Herald the strong community support on the bond issue could be a boost for hiring the school’s next leader. 

“It speaks well for the community, there is something special happening here,” Harrison said about the vote. “In 30 years, that was the second highest (percentage) that I have ever heard. Pontotoc had one at 93 percent and Philadelphia had one with 94 percent.”

Harrison, a former superintendent and lifelong educator, is employed with the Mississippi Educational Search Consortium, the company hired by the district to lead the effort to hire a new superintendent after Dr. Michael McInnis announced he would leave the district at the end of the year to take a similar position in Arkansas.

Harrison’s input about the superintendent search in the meeting came during executive session, but trustees reiterated that March 31 is the deadline for candidates to apply and interviews will likely start 10 days later. School trustees hope to make the hire by the end of April.

Other business handled at the meeting included:

• Received an audit report on the 2018-19 school year from Joel Cunningham with Cunningham CPA. Prior to his report Epes thanked the school’s business manager, Randy Goodwin, for the perfect audit the school received.

“It’s not just me,” Goodwin noted about his-coworkers.

“We do a lot of school districts all across the state, all shapes, sizes and economic situations and he does a really good job,” Cunningham added about Goodwin’s work.

Cunningham explained there were no issues in the audit and the school’s fund balance has recorded an increase for three consecutive years. He also said compliance tests for both state and federal restrictions also looked good.

• Approved a request from Oxford University Bank to use the school’s “WV” logo for personalized checks for their customers. 

• Accepted a $19,181 donation from the football booster club to purchase state championship rings for football team.

“Again, thank the community for coming through and doing that for our young men. That was a great accomplishment for our school and our community,” Epes said.

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