° empty

Plan of 1803 may help save schools

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.