Thursday, December 15, 2011

Flowood Wants Northwest Rankin School District

Flowood Mayor, Gary Rhoads, spoke at Wednesday's meeting of the Rankin County School Board - he made a request that will add an interesting twist to discussions about Rankin County Schools and any future bond issues.

He asked the board to allow Flowood to take the Northwest Rankin School District and convert it to an independent school district.

The NWR District has 7 schools and over 5000 students. 

With the rejection of a recent $169 million school bond issue the Mayor said he was concerned about the condition of area schools and overcrowding.  He used Northwest Rankin Middle School as an example saying the school had only 8 commodes to accommodate over 700 male students.

"With these types of facilities I can't compete with Madison or Ridgeland or keep getting the medical community out here" said Rhoads.  "Our inmates over at the Rankin County Jail have a better facility than y'all do at the middle school, they have a commode in their cell," he added.

Mayor Rhoads explained to the board how important school systems are to businesses evaluating new locations or considering expansions  and said if Flowood is to remain competitive the schools must improve.

The Mayor was complementary of the school district employees, teachers and administrators and made it clear his concern was with the physical facilities and overcrowding.

Rhodes was firm with his request and said if the board did not approve it he was prepared to go to the voters and start a petition drive to create the separate district. 

We'll bring you more info on this story as events unfold.

TRN was at the meeting and recorded the Mayor's comments, below is an edited version containing 4 minutes of his 20 minute discussion with the board.





If the player does not work in your browser click HERE to download the MP3.

The Rez News
Barnett Reservoir

40 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is a great idea. The bond issue failed for many reasons, one is was not explained to the public correctly, second the administration wasted no telling how much money building that nice building that they are in. I would recommend getting rid of Morrison who has the brain the size of a pea and getting NWR back to where it is in alingment with the other schools of this size.

Anonymous said...

Now this is a great idea. Forget the overlay. This is the type of improvement that will guarantee increases in property values.

Anonymous said...

For the first time in a long time, some sanity where our schools are concerned. I can't see how the board would approve this. NWR is the backbone of taxes for the district.

But it sure is nice to have a politician listen to his constituents.

Anonymous said...

Yea Gary. We welcome Flowood to succeed in this endeavor and support you 100%+. Please get started, we are with you.

Anonymous said...

In listening to the recording he states that something has to be done about the facilities "in the city". NWR zone goes outside the Flowood city limits. What about those schools? Is he proposing only city limits schools or all in the NWR zone?

Anonymous said...

That would be wonderful. Another school superintendent and staff. They could move into the new Central Firestation, now that was a waste of tax payers money.
(one example, more air conditioner units than firemen assigned there)


The school board needs to get off their butts and rewrite the bond issue for what is needed.

Anonymous said...

As a parent of 3 NWR students, I think this is definitely something that should be considered. Our children are our future. Why not do all we can do improve our schools. Mr. Morrison & his staff do a great job. Many thanks to them for all their hard work.

Mike Source said...

First to Anonymous at 6:34, your wrong on Morrison, if not for him scratching and clawing for things the school would be in much worse shape than it is now. Now to the fact: This is a great idea, if only to force the School Board to do something now, and if not we make something happen on our own. The new district as I understand will include the entire NW zone. All the elementary schools, middle school and high school. I know the Mayor has had several conversations/meetings with other elected officials and they all are on the same page. Josh Harkins, Kevin McGee, Wood Brown and I think Mark Baker have been involved in the discussion.

Anonymous said...

Thanks 11:03. Something tells me that the board was not entirely surprised at the proposal either. What would be shocking is if they don't already have a response.

What, exactly, is a separate school district? Would we be responsible for county school taxes + new district school taxes?

Anonymous said...

The U.S. Justice department would never prove it.

Do we honestly think RCSD will give up NWR schools? To much money is at stake.

Anonymous said...

If Ann will resign before the next bond issue, I will support it.

Anonymous said...

Ann isn't the problem. Look no further than the Grumpster. He looks menacing!

Anonymous said...

5:36
You must be a product of the JPS, GFarmer is one vote.

Anonymous said...

As a senior at northwest rankin high school I've experienced the overcrowding it's about time someone steps up to the plate and does something about this! Rankin county school district is the only district in the state who does not fund band or any other arts northwest has many talented students and those students don't get funded we deserve a building that displays what kind of students attend that school!!!

Anonymous said...

Flowood doesn't just want NWR but also more land to incorporate. Water rates doubled when they took over Rankin Utility. Running a separate district with all the administrative and physical infrastructure will add tremendously to local taxes. Just look at the Rankin County website for real estate taxes for a house in Ambience or Cornerstone (Brandon School district) versus Castlewoods home of similar size. Taxes are 3X higher minimum. Flowood is landlocked except for growing east. Rhodes' push for an independent school district is one part of a much larger agenda I fear.

Anonymous said...

It is obvious Gary Rhodes did not attend a Rankin County School. His english is lacking to say the least. Why would we want to leave the best school district in Mississippi? Taxes would sky rocket, just look at Pearl. Their taxes are 10 mills higher than ours. Flowood can't even take care of our roads. It's time for Gary Rhodes to go to the house.

Anonymous said...

Go home Grumpies. You don't realize how foolish you look.

Flowood wants bonds? Guess what, they need schools. You bumpkins are showing your ignorance.

Anonymous said...

If you deduct the pine straw, the cost of employing family members, fill dirt from the board attourney and non 16th section land cost for school property. Flowood could make this happen for a fraction of spending going on now by Lynn and co.BTW it's Rhoads.

Anonymous said...

If Flowood is so rich off of Rankin County taxpayers money why don't they just donate the money to build new schools?

Kristen said...

I'm sorry to tell you this but Gary Rhodes is a product of RCSD he attended Pearl before it became a separate school district. I don't hear any complaints from people in Pearl that fund the Pearl Schools... Actually there is nothing but pride flowing over here. Way to go Gary, and no Grumpy isn't the problem at RCSD. He's actually the only one on the board with common sense.

Anonymous said...

This is shot across the bow to let the school board know that it is getting in the way of Flowood growth.

He also said that if they did not fix the problem he would.

As for taxes going up no one knows at this time, but district two producing 51% of the tax revenue in Rankin County and Northwest Zone is in district two.

Looking at Pearl and you will find some great schools and they are looking for more revenue to pay for them by suing RCSD to expand tax base by taking an area from RCSD.

RCSD will be submitting a new bond issues to improve the facilities in the Northwest Zone along with the other seven zones in RSCD. It will again be an all or none type of bond issue for all zones. If they had a bond issue for only one zone it would never pass as the other seven zones would vote it down.

If this new bond issue fails then Flowood will have a case to take the Northwest Zone from RCSD.

Bottom line is taxes may need to be increased to provide the facilities that are needed to house the growth.

Anonymous said...

The irony here is that the other zones who do not want to "increase taxes" will have a hell of a time funding their own, smaller district if Flowood gets its way. The NWR zone makes or breaks the district budget.

This should be so much fun to watch.

Anonymous said...

December 15, 2011 10:41 PM

Troll.

Anonymous said...

Old Gary and the good folks in Flowood forget that 90% of the money spent and collected in Flowood comes from the citizens of Brandon, Pelahatchie, Puckett, Mclaurin, Richland, Florence, Pisgah and the rest of Rankin County. There isn't but a few thousand people that live in Flowood. Let's solve our facility needs working together. A house divided against itself cannot stand.

Anonymous said...

If a separate school is formed, the new school board would be appointed by the Mayor and Board of
Aldermen from Flowood. The new school board would then appoint the new Superintendent - I'm sure it would be the Mayor's son-in-law - assistant principal at NWRHS. Isn't this really what this is all about!!! And Wood Brown's daughter - assistant principal at Highland Bluff - would probably be #1 Assistant Superintendent. Gary would then not only control Flowood - but all the Northwest schools as well. Flowood would also have to assume its share of the debt of RCSD. Guess how high our taxes would be then!! Better be sure you know what you are wishing for.

Anonymous said...

The school board and Superintendent would no longer be elected by popular vote, it would be appointed by the mayor (Gary Rhoads, who wants his son-in-law to be Superintendent, and the board of Aldermen) Of Course Gary Rhoads wants the Northwest Rankin School District, he could control every aspect of the schools where his kids and grandkids work and go to school.

Anonymous said...

Goodbye and good riddance! Let them pay RCSD a fair market value for those properties, and those RCSD schools that NEED improvements (McLaurin and Brandon Middle) will be able to have them. Take Little Lynn (he of the Napoleon complex) and Lying Anne (She claims that she opposed the proposed athletic expenditures in the first bond issue. How long can that nose grow?)with you. Don't let the door smack you in the ass on the way out.

Anonymous said...

Folks we have a problem:

First we have schools that are over crowed and in need of repair or replacement with a growing student environment.

Next we have a school board that only did half of the job of preparing a bond issue and not explaining it to the public. This is our fault as we keep electing the same people. This can only be corrected with different people seeking to be elected. There will be two positions on the board to be filled this coming year. But we are stuck with the superintendent for four more years with out a recall.

Then we have the mayor wants the district made into an independent school district. This will be a great idea if the next bond issue does not pass.

What we need the school board to do is open up its meeting by having them at a time when normal folks can attend.

Have someone from each zone discuss the needs of the zone. Things such as the middle school overcrowding and other issues. Allow questions from the public and publish the meeting on a blog and the local paper. Then the school board can publish the bond requirements, request a bond issue and request public support. Hoping that it will pass.

Even with all of this we will be two to three years away from addressing the current issues and who knows what new ones we will have by then.

Anonymous said...

4:49,

Do you honestly think this proposal was made with Weathersby and Ann in mind? No way they go with the new district. You're stuck with them.

Anonymous said...

Good riddance, you bunch of whiney bast**ds!

Anonymous said...

To all concerned, an ISD will not happen anytime soon in this political climate. Consolidation is the buzzword. Let's get that out of the way.

RCSD's major blunder was not introducing the bond issue in smaller bites. Madison County School District and DeSoto County School District did this throughout the last decade properly projecting their growth. For instance, MCSD passed four separate bond issues during this time period. These two districts I mentioned are the educational gold standard in Mississippi.

There is no reason Rankin Schools should lag behind. Rankin County also experienced rapid growth during this time frame. The blame rests squarely on the District leadership (Board and Administration). It wasn't simply a drop of the ball. It was playing the game without a game plan.

The nepotism argument may make some feel better, but the other two school districts I mentioned have been accused of the same practice. Individuals benefiting from nepotism and forward thinkers are not mutually exclusive.

Improvements and expansion are going to cost the Rankin taxpayers dearly in the coming years. Hold the leadership's feet to the fire. You are playing catchup to your neighbors in Madison County and other growing areas. RCSD appears to be several years behind in performing the necessary capital projects and existing facility renovations needed to be on par with Madison and DeSoto School Districts.

The voters already spoke (correctly I might add). A separate school district will not happen. As some readership stated earlier, quit complaining and give those you charge with running this District an earful. I know you already have but don't relent. Get leadership that will work for you and your children. Rankin Countians deserve much better performance. At least start with a proper ratio of commodes to students.

Signed,

Former NWR alum now located in Madison County saddened to hear the state of the NWR schools presently

Anonymous said...

Please stay here and debate. Those of you who have posted here and attempted to debate on Jackson Jambalaya are showing your ignorance and the reason why Flowood WILL annex NW Rankin SD. I'm pretty certain of it. They are more intelligent than any other agency around and have more capital available, in terms of funding and flexible spending.

Anonymous said...

Love it. Rankin County short sightedness helps Flowood residents and surrounding community.

All those Grumpy anti-school bonders, guess what? Say hello to the new Madison when Flowood gets the ISD.

You will wish they passed the bond when your neighborhood is languishing for school repairs.

I could see the board actually approving this on the fast-track just to teach you a lesson.

Anonymous said...

Watta ya say Rankin County Taxpayers, let's let Mayor Rhoads show us How to RUN A SCHOOL DISTRICT. Let's see now, he's got the Special Events Coordinator for the City of Flowood [aka Supervisor Greg Wilcox of District 3, who's District doesn't include Flowood as it's drawn}, he's got Wood Brown [who hasn't been awake except for Photo Ops in 4 Years], he's got a Son-in-Law, as well as other Family Members who can run this District for him.[Who said Lynn Weathersby has the Family detail handled]. I sure hope Flowood is sucessful in forming a Separate School District, then maybe those of us paying County School District Taxes can have a descent School in our areas also instead of paying for those at the Reservoir area. Maybe those Residents can assess theirself those Taxes to pay for the 3-5 Years they are actually Residents of Rankin County. Hope all works out so that Pelehatchie, Pisgah,Puckett, and McLaurin can have School Buildings that are less than 50 Years Old also. And while you're at it Mayor why don't You take in every Subdivision West of Hwy 471,South of Hwy 43, and North of the Pearl City Limits so You can provide City Services to them instead of Rankin County doing all of your Road Maintenance for You. Come to think of it,why don't Yall form a REAL CITY instead of seizing Opportunity down State Highway 25.

Anonymous said...

Come on RCSD, let Flowood have their own School District and while we're on that subject let's LET Flowood annex everything North and West of Vine Drive, South and West of Hwy 43, and North of the Pearl City Limits. Let's see if then Pisgah,Pelehatchie,Puckett and McLaurin can have School facilities less than 50 Years Old. Those of us South of the Rez don't mind paying Taxes-it's just hard to do when those School Facilities are 10 Years Old and ours are 50 years old plus. Mayor Rhoads has some Family members who Need their high 4 Years and that would assure his Support for a Separate School District. That way he can Appoint the School Board, the District Superintendent, and all the Little Bosses too. We the Voters of Rankin County would throw Ms Ann in for free,just for the taking as she deserves a New School after so many Years of Service spending OUR MONEY. Yes, we'll get over the Loss and while You're looking for Opportunity to be a City---build and maintain your own Roads also.

Anonymous said...

I was tempted to make a comment better suited for DJT and the folks commenting over there after those two posts. I'll keep it tepid, the death of English Language was pronounced DOA.

Anonymous said...

12:37, you've hit the nail on the head. It's the worst kept secret that Flowood is one of, if not the, wealthiest cities in the state.

And for those you who think this will be pay dirt for the smaller zones (I'm looking at you McLaurin, Pelahatchie, etc), think again. A majority of the RCSD's budget comes from the taxes collected in the NWR zone. This will cripple, but not kill, the district if it goes through. You may get new buildings but you will pay dearly for them.

Anonymous said...

@ 8:16 - I think you have hit the nail on the head. The district two with is NWR school zone produces about 50% of the tax revenue for the county, which is also 50% of the school taxes. If this tax is diverted to the new district. Brandon would then be the main revenue source for RCSD. It is possible that taxes in all of the remaining zones would go up just to cover personal and maintenance cost leaving nothing for new buildings.

Improved facilities are needed in all zones today. So what we need is to get the present school board working to define the needs of each (not wants) and present it to the public in a way where they can understand the needs in a form of a bond issue. If this is done I think that the bond issue will pass and all zones will get necessary improvements. The school board needs to be more open about school business and keep the public informed of needs more often than waiting every 10 years to bring up a bond issue. As it is now they have a lot of catch up to do in all zones. It would be better if the had a bond issue for say a school in McLaurin this year and another for Pelahatchie next year rather than waiting 10 years to say that there is a need.

Laura said...

OK.....ENOUGH ALREADY!!!!!! Why are you guys still talking instead of listening to 7:04pm that is a student. To 8:58pm Since your at your house GOT TO BED....Your mad at the world. What good are Angry comments? Gary Rhodes did the one thing that should have been brought up a long time ago...He spoke up! Again listen to 7:04pm the student that has to endure these conditions along with some teachers that really need a refresher course in teaching!!! Go Mayor Gary Rhodes. From A very concerned parent of RCSD! We need to shut up and listen to our children!

Anonymous said...

Laura, go to sleep baby, go to sleep. If your writing is indicative of RCSD schooling, I certainly agree with Flowood's Mayor on usurping the SD. However, I'm beginning to think you are renting with your vitriol.