JPS, JSU, ASU, Ayers, TANF, JXN Water, and the City of Jackson

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Issues for which there is a need for updates, an accounting

Periodically, we comment on issues that are of public concern. Sometimes they are resolved. Often, they are not, but remain under the radar. This week, we re-visit six of those issues.


The Ayers Case was supposedly resolved and closed by the courts a year ago. Yet, there is confusion in some minds over the ownership of Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium and what is called the e-Center in Jackson. While many JSU supporters have come to believe that JSU owns the stadium, that is not what the language of the settlement agreement says and state officials have deliberately left the matter under the radar. On the other hand, the settlement language suggests that the former Allstate Insurance building was purchased for JSU. Yet, there is some evidence that JSU is still paying for the building. The third Ayers matter that has continued to fly under the radar is the fact that $34 million, which was to constitute the private endowments for Alcorn, Jackson State, and Mississippi Valley, has never been raised.

On none of those issues have state officials spoken out. Some of the private plaintiffs have raised questions for years. It seems, however, that no official feels the need to respond. The attitude seems to be, “after all, the people affected are people who are employed by the state or just interested, but detached Black citizens.”


This past summer, the secretary of agriculture and the secretary of education issued a letter indicating that over the years Mississippi State University had received nearly $258 million that should have gone to Alcorn State University. Nevertheless, since the summer, despite publicity on the matter, there has been no resolution of the matter nor even comments from state officials.

Although the governor, the state legislature, and the college board share responsibility for the problem, it appears more and more as if it will be left to private citizens to file suit as was the case with Ayers. Since the matter of accounting is nowhere on the agenda of state officials, perhaps alumni of Alcorn and/or Alcorn retirees, who are now receiving smaller pensions because there was less money in the budget when their salaries were determined, should take-up the battle.


For over two years now, the public has been aware that $77 million in funds intended for needy families (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) were diverted and instead used by private companies and individuals, who were white and mostly wealthy. Several of the culprits, including the program’s director, have already pleaded guilty. Others suspected higher-ups have escaped indictment and one, Bret Favre, has not made a full restitution of what was demanded of him for his part in the scandal. 

Meanwhile, State Auditor Shad White has come under attack by several other state officials for vigorously pursuing the case. On the same note, however, there has been no public update on the matter in several months. Like the other issues above, the TANF scandal continues to be one where an accounting is needed.


In the fall of last year, the Jackson Public School Superintendent, Dr. Errick Greene announced the closure of several high, middle, and elementary schools. During the discussion of the same, some board members suggested that the names of the heroes and heroines for whom the schools had been named not be lost. Based upon that suggestion, the writer offered the proposal that the combined high school of Wingfield and Forest Hill students be named Aaron and Ollye Shirley High School; that the combined Obama and Northwest Jackson schools be named Barack Obama Middle and Elementary School; and that the combined Ida B. Wells and Bailey APAC school be named the Bailey/Wells APAC School.

Since that date, however, there has been no public comment on the suggestion. Wingfield High School was quietly closed after graduation last week. Hopefully, the high school name change will be made before school starts in August. Hopefully, that will also take place for the Bailey and Wells school. The combining of Obama and Northwest Middle still has another year before it is implemented. If that plan is still on the table at that time, hopefully the name change will take place. 

The administration has the time to inform the public of its intentions. That would be a simple matter of accounting.


One can see a great deal of work being done by JXN Water across the city. That is definitely a good development. What is missing, however, is a comprehensive timetable that covers the city. Shortly after Manager Ted Henifin was appointed, the writer submitted to him a document asking, among other things, if there was a comprehensive list of how many feet of pipe needed to be replaced, the cost of such, and the amount of time that would be required for completion. There was no response, even after a second request was made and despite the feeling of confidence and assurance such a document would generate, there has been no response.

Even at this late date, such a document would be welcomed. It would also be a demonstration of accountability and good public relations.


We are still waiting, after three years, for the removal of the Andrew Jackson statue in front of the Jackson, Mississippi City Hall. After the removal was voted on by the City Council, Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba assured us on several occasions that plans were in the works to get the job done. We are still waiting.


There are obviously other issues that have gone unresolved that need exposure. If you, as a citizen, have issues that you would like highlighted, please send them to the writer at 

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JPS, JSU, ASU, Ayers, TANF, JXN Water, and the City of Jackson

By Dr. Ivory Phillips
June 10, 2024