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16 May 2007
JSU President Meehan Looks for Biggest School Bond Issue in State History

Bond with millions for JSU, K-12 schools headed to House

By Markeshia Ricks
Special to the Star

Reprinted here in its entirety.

Millions of dollars for Jacksonville State University and local K-12 public school systems remain in limbo as the biggest school bond issue in state history makes its way through the House of Representatives.

The House Education Appropriations Committee approved the proposed $1.052 billion bond issue Tuesday. But the bill must go to the full House for at least two more readings and a vote before it can be sent to the Senate.

Local school officials say they could use their share of the money to make much-needed capital improvements. But the continued Senate slowdown means that even if the bill gets off the House floor, it might not be passed by the full Legislature before the regular session ends in six days.

Jacksonville State University stands to reap nearly $4.6 million if it does. University President William Meehan said the money would be used to add a wing to the Ramona Wood College of Education and Professional Studies building.

Ive been president for nine years and Ive been asking for a bond issue for about that long, Meehan said Tuesday. Im very glad that we got one.

With 75 percent of the proposed bond issue designated for K-12 public schools, individual local school systems would receive at least $1 million for new buildings, renovations, new technology, or to retire old debt. Some systems would receive far more. The Calhoun County system stands to receive about $7.9 million if the bond issue passes.

Jacksonville City Schools Superintendent Eric Mackey said the $1.6 million his system would receive likely would be used to provide space for seventh and eighth graders, but hes skeptical about whether schools will actually see the money.

I hate to say it, but were not counting on the money, Mackey said. We havent set any plans out there in the immediate future. Were just going to continue doing what were doing.

Mackey said the growing Jacksonville system is providing an extra set of books for students to keep at home because they dont have lockers. It may be necessary to add portables in the next few years, he said.

Were really overcrowded on our high school campus, Mackey said. Its not like we have kids standing outside or anything, but its full. Wed really like to have the money.

What area schools stand to gain

Calhoun County Schools

Cleburne County Schools

Randolph County Schools

Anniston City Schools

Jacksonville City Schools

Oxford City Schools

Piedmont City Schools

Roanoke City Schools

Talladega City Schools

Gadsden State Community College

Jacksonville State University

Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind

See story at The Anniston Star's website: .

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