Public schools in Jackson, Mississippi, are facing a $4 million budget shortfall, and they’re looking for help from the federal government.
That’s what Jackson Public School Board President David B. Williams said at a news conference Tuesday.
The district has been under a state of emergency since September because of the Mississippi Supreme Court ruling in the state’s landmark Citizens United case, which allowed corporations to spend unlimited amounts of money on political campaigns.
The ruling allowed corporations and unions to raise unlimited amounts from corporations, unions, and other individuals, but not from individuals, according to a memo by Williams.
This budget shortfall will be the first in a long line of difficult times that will come due over the next few months, Williams said.
The school district had projected a $1.9 million deficit in the 2018-2019 school year, but it has now projected a shortfall of $4.4 million.
That means the district will have a $2.6 million budget deficit in 2019-2020.
Schools in Jackson are not in danger of closing, but they are facing an even more challenging situation in 2020-2021.
The state’s school board is planning to spend $1 million this year on a new building, but the plan is being challenged by a local nonprofit.
The Jackson Public school district is also looking to use the funds from the state of Louisiana to pay for a $500,000 renovation project for the Jackson Public High School.
The project will renovate the existing facility, which is in need of major repairs and upgrades.
This will include new bathrooms, a new cafeteria, new auditorium, new classrooms, new athletic facilities, and new classrooms with new seating, a statement from the district said.
Williams said that when he visited the Jackson public schools Tuesday morning, he found that many students were excited about the project and eager to get started.
The first day of school in Jackson is scheduled for Tuesday.
Williams says he’s hopeful that the school district can close the budget shortfall by June 30.