The Board of Trustees of the Cleveland School District looks through petitions designed to force a referendum on a tax increase for school improvements.


CLEVELAND – The Cleveland School District Board of Trustees has postponed until June 30 a decision on whether enough signatures have been submitted to force a vote on a tax increase for school improvements.

In a meeting here Monday, the board examined a little more than 190 pages of petitions to find any signatures that may have been duplicated.

Business manager Cindy Holtz had highlighted names that were found more than once throughout the petitions prior to the meeting.

“Mrs. Holtz made a list based on the board’s canvas of the signatures for duplicates, and she has 159 names that were noted as being duplicate names,” said Jamie Jacks, board attorney.

The board will post their list of apparently duplicate signatures along with the list of registered voters from the circuit clerk. According to Jacks, the public will have ten days to come forward to present information to verify their signatures an dprove they are not duplicates.

The meeting lasted several hours and there was evident tension between some members of the community and the board.

The district approved a resolution of intent to raise taxes for school improvements during a regular board meeting on May 9. State law allows a district to impose up to a 3-mill tax increase to support school improvements.

The tax increase will move forward unless 20 percent or more of registered voters living in the school district object to the plan.

It is estimated that annual individual taxes will not increase more than $11 dollars per $100,000 dollars worth of property, Jacks said in the statement.

“In other words, if you have a one-hundred thousand dollar home, it is estimated you see an $11 annual increase to your taxes,” she said.

The board indicated it will make a final determination on how to proceed at the June 30 meeting.


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Aallyah Wright is a native of Clarksdale, and was a Mississippi Delta reporter covering education and local government. She was also a weekly news co-host on WROX Radio (97.5 FM) and collaborator with StoryWorks/Reveal Labs from the Center for Investigative Reporting. Aallyah has a bachelor’s in journalism with minors in communications and theater from Delta State University. She is a 2018 Educating Children in Mississippi Fellow at the Hechinger Report, and co-founder of the Mississippi Delta Public Newsroom.