LEXINGTON, Miss. – More than six hundred Holmes County residents turned out to meet their children’s school principal at an event held at Holmes County Central High School on Friday, July 26. All of the principals—some of whom are newly assigned to their schools—were present to speak to parents and students and socialize over a community fish dinner.
Prior to the dinner, Superintendent James L. Henderson, Ed.D. spoke to the assembled students and their families. He introduced district leaders and instructional support staff, in addition to the principals, leaving no doubt of the commitment he has to the academic turnaround he’s expecting this year. The familiar It’s That Time! refrain was heard several times as he discussed the need for academic growth and change and the need to vote for the school bond referendum to build new schools. Attendance prizes were given out, including a 55” flat-screen TV, season tickets for football and basketball games and tickets to Family Fun Night movie events.
Dr. Henderson and members of the HCCSD Board of Education presented the designs of the potentially three new schools: preK-8 elementary in Durant, a 9th grade center and a high school (locations to be determined) with an athletic stadium, fine arts performance hall, multi-purpose spaces and a natatorium—all designed to serve the district for many years to come. The buildings will be financed by the $16.6 million bond in combination with funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA). The FEMA and MEMA funds are coming to the district in response to the damages and loss from the 2017 tornadoes which tore up Highway 51 in a line of destruction from Canton to Durant, hitting Williams-Sullivan preK-8 and Goodman-Pickens preK-5 schools.
The Superintendent of Schools stressed the increased learning opportunities for students in the new energy efficient schools designed by minority-owned architectural firms with state-of-the-art technology infrastructure, spacious classrooms, a low-wattage student-run TV station, indoor sports venue, security cameras and alarms, digital marquees and parking lots. He also underlined the need for the Holmes County community to invest in its future after 50 years without passing an education bond—he emphasized the requirement that residents VOTE FOR the bond for its children. Dr. Henderson repeated the fact that 80% of county residents will see a tax increase of less than $100, which equates to 27¢ per day, convincing voters of the affordability of the bond. Moreover, there will be no tax increase for residents who are renters, 65 and over, veterans or disabled.