Friday, February 14, 2014

LMSD Board has Heavy Agenda In Spite of Bad Weather Conditions

The Louisville Municipal School District Board of Trustees met on Tuesday night in spite of the poor weather conditions. One item was removed from the agenda due to the weather, as Teacher of the Year awards were moved to the March meeting.

The Board heard from Bob Clay, a representative of the program, Excel by 5. This program is a community certification program unique to Mississippi. Involving the Early Childhood Institute of MSU and privately funded predominantly by Chevron, Excel by 5 seeks to improve early childhood education, health and school readiness.

Clay, along with Frank Cooper, president of the Winston County Partners for Community Living, have been working on the project in Winston County for a period of time. There is support for the project in the County but there is a need for a certification manager to provide support for the two-year project. In addition, the project requires a coalition of volunteers from all facets of community life including education, business, health care and government. Excel by 5 made the presentation seeking support from the school district.

Clay cited statistics that indicated that in 2013, 14% of births were to teen moms and 59% were to unwed parents within the County. With 90% of brain development occurring before age 5, Clay indicated the need for support of early childhood education and health and support for parents. The board took no immediate action but did show support for the program.

The board also met with Emily Perkins of Main Street Medical concerning child wellness checkups for the Medicaid or CHIPS program within schools. These programs allow for a yearly child wellness checkup for children eligible for the programs but many do not take advantage of these checkups. Main Street Medical would do these health screenings in school so that parents don’t have to take off work and would therefore be more likely to participate. Main Street Medical would also be able to do sports screenings for participation in extracurricular activities.

The program would be at no cost to the School District and Main Street Medical personnel would come to the school to do the screenings.

After answering questions about liability issues the board approved an agreement for wellness screenings with Main Street Medical.

After reviewing financial reports and dealing with several lease issues for 16th section land. Dr. Nola Bryant briefed the board on ACT issues and the need to improve scores due to changes in college requirements. Testing of 8th, 9th, and 10th grade students and ACT workshops were discussed.

Superintendent McMullan informed the board that an audit had just been conducted by the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) of all district schools. All schools in Mississippi are subject to a surprise audit by MDE. McMullan said that a team of five performed the audit of everything from transcripts and procedures to condition of buses and facilities. McMullan indicated that they were complementary of some issues but that obviously some corrections would likely be indicated. A written report should be available within 30 days.

The board then entered into discussion about the election of board officers. Trustee Bobby Moody made a motion that the position of Board President be set up on a rotational schedule rather than by vote. After a 2-2 vote, Board Member Hickman asked for more discussion on the subject. Moody felt the rotational system would eliminate some of the politics in choosing the position. Cathy Edwards, the current Board President, felt that politics were not an issue and that a change in procedure was not required. After further discussion, the motion carried to go to a rotational system for Board President on a 3-2 vote.

The board approved several staff recommendations for the current year and for the upcoming year before setting the date of the next board meeting for March 25. The board then entered into executive session to discuss possible litigation, the sale of school properties and the superintendent’s evaluation. No action was taken concerning litigation, the superintendent’s evaluation was acknowledged and the board moved to proceed with the sale of three unused school properties.