County Commissioners decide to support funding for new schools

JACKSON, Tenn.–Members of the County Commission opened up Monday’s meeting with discussion of the Private/Public Partnership for the construction for two new schools.

One school would be built on the former Jackson Central-Merry High School and the other on the University of Memphis-Lambuth Campus.

After much discussion, commissioners voted to go forward with funding for construction of the schools with 20 voting yes and 1 voting no.

Vicki Lake, the chair of the Jackson Community Redevelopment Agency says she is happy to receive the commissioners’ support.

“Supporting us and funding us on the New Jackson Central-Merry High School,” said Lake.

The funding will be made possible using a New Market Tax Credit program.

“With New Market Tax Credit the total cost is $20 million for the school at the end of the 7 years the New Market Tax Credits allow you a 20 percent equity investment in it,” said Lake

Meaning the $20 million credit for the school will end up being $16million.

“So it saves the county $4 million by doing it this way,” said Lake.

County Commissioner Adrian Montague of District 2 said voting to fund the schools is a step in the right direction.

“We did the jail expansion so now we need to focus our energies on these schools,” said Montague.

As for the second school to be built on the University of Memphis-Lambuth Campus, the Jackson Community Development Agency will go to the City Council to ask for their support.

“And then once we finish that we will start our paperwork and our contracts and all our agreements,” said Lake.

Lake said she is hopeful the City Council will support the funding for construction of this school.

If the City Council agrees to support funding necessary to build Madison Academic Magnet High School on the University of Memphis-Lambuth Campus, construction is projected to start at the beginning of 2019.

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