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Board approves #036;9 million school bonds

JACKSON – &uot;Bonds for sale!&uot; That’s what Northampton County Commissioners agreed upon during their regular meeting here Monday.

After approving the budget at the county’s Board of Education meeting last month, the recommendation to sell the $9 million school bonds was passed on to Commissioners for a verdict.

&uot;This is a very important issue,&uot; said Dr. James Pickens Northampton County Public School Superintendent.

&uot;This decision will enable us to initiate the two projects we have been talking about, namely the new elementary school that will replace Jackson-Eastside and Seaboard elementary schools and the construction of a new administrative building.&uot;

The decision to purchase the school bonds came after Northampton voters approved the measure in a 3,029-to-879 vote in July. Since approximately 25 percent of the money collected from sales tax is designated and required to be spent for public school capital outlay or indebtedness incurred for the same, the project will be executed without raising taxes.

Prior to the approval, Commissioners weighed the possibility of selling the bonds in two different issues to err on the side of caution, but ultimately approved the sale in its entirety.

&uot;I have to compliment the School Board for having very well prepared budget,&uot; said Northampton County Manager Wayne Jenkins. &uot;If the economy stays the same, we could likely see the payoff occur within 10 years.&uot;

Vice Chair Robert Carter echoed his support stating, &uot;We will be very frugal with funds in this county and if it takes five times to sell the bonds, we’ll keep doing it until they’re sold.&uot;

Pickens cited a target date of August 2006 for the project to reach completion and thanked the Board of Commissioners for its decision.

&uot;The Board of Education feels the money for these improvements will be a great benefit for all of us in the community,&uot; Pickens said. &uot;It looks like we’re on our way to a bright future of economic development and social and financial projects.&uot;

Work has already begun with roof replacements on the first half of Northampton County High School-East as well as Garysburg Elementary.

Starting dates for the construction of the new elementary school and the administrative building are being discussed.