By CARL SMITH
Starkville School District could find needed funding for its district maintenance plan through a zero-interest bond program.
During a special school board meeting noon Thursday, SSD Superintendent Lewis Holloway said approximately $1.56 million out of $30 million remains available for Mississippi schools through a 15-year Qualified Zone Academy maintenance bond program. School board members said the district will consider applying for the complete bond amount during their September meeting.
Holloway said the bond money can apply for a number of district construction and maintenance issues, including roof repairs, building upkeep, construction projects and school furnishings.
“We have three buildings which all need new roofs, and each roof could cost about $200,000. Also, there are the issues with (Starkville High School’s) track and football field, and we have 92 air conditioning units that are 26 years or older and three boilers that are 50 years or older,” Holloway said. “The district can easily find (maintenance) needs to fund.”
Holloway told the school board SSD needs to act quickly before funding is delegated to other schools.
“It’s a competitive (package),” he said Thursday. “We need to move quickly because some other district could step in (and acquire the funding).”
If the district receives the funding, Holloway said SSD has the capacity to easily service the note during its 15-year debt schedule.
“With no (maintenance spending) restrictions and zero interest, we’d be foolish not to pursue this,” school board member Lee Brand said.
In other business, school board members discussed a potential laptop leasing program which will provide each SSD teacher his or her own work laptop and also establish a districtwide technology standard. Under the program, new computers would replaced older ones on a steady cycle, thereby keeping the district up-to-date with technology.
Holloway said the program would cost an estimated $120,000 for three years, and new computers would replace antiquated models in the fourth year. If approved, the district could receive the computers by November, he said.
“It’s a step to make teachers more efficient in the lives because they can use them at home for research and develop lesson plans,” he said. “I have no concern about us being able to sustain ourselves (in regard to technology) with this program.”
Finally, the board accepted Millsaps Career and Technology Center Director James Stidham’s retirement. Stidham has served the school district for 25 years.