Keep lid on tax money

Officials of the CREATE Foundation of Tupelo spent time this week updating Union County officials on the latest plans for development of an advanced vocational-technical school near the Toyota manufacturing plant.

The school, to be called Wellspring Center for Professional Futures, is expected to cost $35 million.
The first courses are expected to focus on advanced manufacturing, health sciences and emerging technology. We translate “advanced manufacturing” to mean training folks to work at Toyota. Perhaps we are unduly skeptical.
Originally, we believed the school would be paid for by Toyota or through its educational endowment fund, which is administered by CREATE.
That has turned out not to be the case. Taxpayer money is being sought to pay part of the cost of building construction.
Because little public enthusiasm has been generated for the school, officials have now proposed building it in phases. Phase 1, which would include about 25,000 square feet, would cost $12 million.
Mike Clayborne, president of CREATE, said the foundation wants the state pay $6 million of the construction cost. The remainder of Phase 1 would be paid for from earnings on the endowment fund. Operating costs also would be paid by the fund.
We remain opposed to using state or federal tax money to construct this school for which no overriding public need has been shown. We have many public education needs in Mississippi that are more pressing than this one.

About Chris Elkins

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