LEXINGTON, Miss. – Comfortable weather and higher than usual turn-out failed to sway some Holmes County voters to approve the School Bond Referendum. Nearly 6500 of the county’s almost 14,000 registered voters exercised their right to vote on November 5th. Needing at least 60% of voters to vote FOR the bond, at 58% approval rate, the referendum fell short.
“I see this result as a step in the right direction,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. James L. Henderson, “because more citizens wanted the bond to pass than did not. We will return to the ballot next year during the General Election. As far back as we know, there has never been a school bond referendum passed by the voters of Holmes County, but there have been numerous bonds passed for road and bridges improvements.”
The bond monies were to be combined with insurance monies and Federal Emergency Management Agency and Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (FEMA/MEMA) funds to construct new educational facilities.
Dr. Henderson said, “We were hopeful that we had done enough to show people the need and our plan to address it. In the end, it seemed as if homeowners were afraid of any financial undertaking and of voting contrary to what some influential community leaders recommended.”
Dr. Henderson and his staff presented more than a dozen public sessions, with an attorney to explain the tax impact of the bond, in locations all over the county, including Mileston, Tchula, Cruger, Acona, Lexington, Pickens, Goodman, and Durant. Substantial radio advertising and talk show appearances, as well as the district’s website and social media platforms also got the word out. “I want to thank all of our supporters and the hard-working members of the Citizens for the VOTE YES School Bond Referendum. Co-chairs Earline Wright Hart and Zelpha Whatley were tireless campaigners, determined to inform folks as to why they should vote for the bond. Adult and student volunteers went above and beyond to get information to everyone in the county and to let them know how much we need new schools.”
“We will not stop,” said Dr. Henderson. “Our students deserve inspiring, conducive learning environments in healthy, functional buildings. We will find a way to provide for our most precious asset—our children, future leaders.”