Plan of 1803 may help save schools

Published 12:00am Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Congressional leaders of 1803 apparently planned, in some part, for exactly what’s happening in the local school district today.

More than 200 years ago, 16th section lands were set aside for the schools as a funding source.

The law defining the lands states that the district can’t sell the lands, but can lease the land for a variety of uses as a moneymaker. The law allows the schools to spend some of the monies made, but requires that other revenues remain in savings to generate interest. The interest can be spent.

The Natchez-Adams School District has spent the majority of its 16th section interest in the last decade, and only recently began addressing the fact that the safety net of funds is running dry.

Superintendent Frederick Hill seems intent on changing budgetary patterns in a way that will again allow the interest to build up, and his acknowledgment of the problem is refreshing.

But perhaps true thanks is owed to those initial lawmakers who made sure that school districts would never be able to entirely deplete their 16th section funds.

Without that forethought, it seems likely that the Natchez schools might have already exhausted the fund, leaving the children of our community with nothing for the future.

The plan set forth by government leaders of yesteryear and now being addressed by Hill may be enough to set our district straight for years to come.



  • khakirat

    This is again, why Adams county needs a elected school board when they raise your property tax at a drop of a hat!! If Adams county public schools had all the gold from Fort Knox they would spend every gold bar and most of its student would still wouldn’t pass the state test scores!!

  • Anonymous

    One of the root causes of our financial woes in this country is that we foolishly think “funding” is the answer to every problem in existence.

  • Anonymous

    The function of government entities is to spend all the money they can get, not save it or otherwise they would be cutting taxes. Local and state governments operate on a more predictable playing field with known revenues and expenses. School boards are faced with much more unfunded mandates from the federal government, then are faced with budget cuts by the state governments, then still have to contend with unforeseen problems during the budget year such as the Morgantown gym problem or the overlooked need to provide more transportation to get those tutorial children home before 8:00 at night. While Hill’s thought process should address the majority of the normal budget, he is not considering a contingency fund for the unforeseens – unless, of course, the untouched 16th section funds he is predicting is that contingency fund. It would be nice to see how many years in the recent past have encountered the unforeseens and the magnitude thereof. They did not learn that lesson from the past, let’s hope they will budget contingencies in the future without pulling down the 16th section funds.

  • Anonymous

    Democratic “wanna-dos”. Looks like the local mayor is taking a lesson from Obama, eliminate the debt ceiling and spend not only all, but more including all future monies.

  • Anonymous

    NOBODY ELECTED THESE PEOPLE! Appointed Boards SHOULD NOT be allowed to levy taxes. If you have the power to tax the people, the people should have the power to vote you in or out of office.