New K-8 School Possibly on the Horizon in Jackson County

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Marianna- Jackson County School Board officials were some of the first to tell us that many of the district's school facilities were sub par.

"We had some people come that the Department of Education brought over [for] an initial walk through [of Jackson County's school facilities]. They make the determination, 'are your facilities useable? Would the condition of your facility make you eligible for the special facilities list?' And, when people from larger districts come, they're just amazed at the condition of some of our schools," Deputy Superintendent Cheryl McDaniel told us.

District officials said they were confident they could make the state's list to receive funding for a new kindergarten through 8th grade school in Marianna.

Supporters said not only would it benefit the school system, it will be advantageous to the entire community.

"It would be a plan that would benefit our students by having a [kindergarten through 8th grade] school- a 21st century school. We would save on transportation costs, along with other costs like administration costs. And, Golson Elementary, which is currently located by the hospital- the hospital has no other place to build. I would think they would be very interested in this site. Marianna Middle School has some facilities that could be of use to the city, say for a boys and girls club. Hope School could be relocated to Riverside Elementary," she said.

The school district would have to pick up $8 million of the $50 million cost.

"It is equal to what that millage would generate if assessed at the full amount your allowed to assess," McDaniel explained. "Or, if you don't assess that millage, you have to have funds that are equal to that which can be generated through your local sales option."

The board was beginning to advertise for architects interested in building the new school. McDaniel said a decision would be made l whether to commit to a contract by December.

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