Jones County voters overwhelmingly approved a referendum to continue a special purpose local option sales tax to fund $13.5 million in bonds to pay for a new elementary school and other education projects.
Nearly 77.5 percent of the 6,986 voters approved extending the penny sales tax for education, with 5,258 voting yes and 1,530 no.
Jones schools Superintendent Jim LeBrun, who has spoken to nearly 30 civic, business and church groups in the past six weeks to drum up support for the referendum, said the resounding victory was a relief and a vote of confidence for the school system.
"That's outstanding," LeBrun said when he heard the totals. "I'm very, very pleased. It's a vote that shows people think the board of education is doing the things needed to provide quality education for our children. I believe we were able to show the community that we needed that penny to keep providing the facilities and tools needed to have a quality school system."
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The revenues from the penny sales tax will be used to build a new elementary school, now planned for 60 acres on Turnerwoods Road and scheduled to open in 2010. The money will also help to pay to renovate Jones County High School, upgrade bathrooms at Gray and Mattie Wells elementary schools, air condition the gym at Gray Elementary and purchase buses, computers and safety equipment.
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