State schools boss pays visit to Jones County schools with eye on the future

TRENTON, Jones County - State School Superintendent Mark Johnson and State Senator Harry Brown were in Jones County on Wednesday, touring the site of what will serve Jones County as a consolidated K-12 campus starting in 2019.

The campus sits next to the current Jones Senior High School, where Brown was once a student.

"Well you know, you get almost emotional with it a little bit," he said. "For a county like Jones County they really have no way to help themselves with school construction."

The plan is to put Jones Senior High, Jones Middle School and Trenton Elementary School all on one campus two years from now. But the money for the project has been slow-coming as Jones County, due to its small population size, only gets about $70,000 annually from the more than $100 million set aside for school construction from the state's education lottery.

"I felt like we had to find a way to help them replace and build new schools and that's what we tried to do in this year's budget," Brown said.

Jones County School District is hoping Wednesday's tour is the launching point toward securing $15 million from the lottery funds for the new consolidated campus.

"The facilities do make a difference," Johnson said. "One thing that will really benefit these students is the consolidation of a school means that all of the resources, all of the technology, all the collaborative areas could be in one new state of the art facility."

The Jones County Board of Commissioners meets Monday to formally approve moving forward with the project's ground breaking.

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