PRC School Board recognizes member Billy Spence

Published 6:12 pm Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The Pearl River County School District recognized board member Billy Spence at its meeting Tuesday night for his service to the school board over the last several years.

The meeting was Spence’s last, before Jeff Jones takes over the position in January.

School Superintendent Dennis Penton presented Spence with a plaque honoring Spence for “making a difference in education” during his time as a board member, from January 2002 until December 2007.

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Penton called Spence’s leaving the school board “bittersweet” and that he admired Spence for the decisions he made while on the board.

“A lot of times, he wouldn’t make a decision until well after he had all the facts. … You never had to wonder where you stood with Billy, because he always stood by his beliefs. … He will be greatly missed,” Penton said.

Refreshments were served during a brief reception in Spence’s honor.

In his report, Penton told the board plans are being made to investigate the possibility of reducing the number of Carnegie units required for graduation from the high school.

“Currently we have the highest number required in the state at 29 Carnegie units. The state will be increasing its number required over the next several years, but we will still be above the number required,” Penton said.

Mississippi currently requires 20 Carnegie units, but schools can individually require more units for graduation.

Penton said he plans to look at scheduling models for the next school year.

“Some classes may remain on the four by four schedule, while others may become year-long classes. This will also be affected by the number of Carnegie units we decide to require,” Penton said.

Penton also told the board he had been investigating purchasing software that would allow the entry of district lines to determine where students live within the district.

“It usually costs about $3,200 for the software,” Penton said. “I was planning on having a quote tonight, but the software companies (that provide the software) have been difficult to contact.”

Penton said the software is extremely accurate, is GPS-based, and is widely used.

“It was used to do the census of 32 states in the last census,” Penton said.

The board also accepted the resignation of Don Criswell, Campus Security Officer, who was present to thank the board for allowing him to serve the school for the past five years.

“It has been an honor and privilege to work for this school board. The decision to leave was the hardest decision I have ever had to make,” Criswell said. “I appreciate all the support I have been given by the board.”

In other business, the board:

— Approved Gary Bailey of Bailey Architecture as replacement construction manager for the field house, band hall and soccer field bathroom projects.

— Approved request from incoming county supervisors-elect to use the cafeteria at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 13, and waive the facility fee.

— Approved donation of top soil in amount of $7,500 for the PRCHS soccer field team.

— Approved charity donation of $989 to be disbursed to the Cancer Society.

— Went into executive session to discuss student matters, possible litigation, personnel matters, sixteenth section matters and business matters.

Adjourned until Thursday, Jan. 10, 2007.