Picayune schools table insurance company release

Published 6:01 pm Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Picayune school board thanked a representative of World Vision, which has been at the Picayune schools for the past two days handing out new backpacks and school supplies to students in kindergarten through 8th grade.

The organization also will provide supplies for high school students later and will open up its warehouse to teachers for yet more supplies. The organization also will be in Poplarville next month to provide students there with school supplies.

The board for the Picayune Municipal Separate School District then moved on to more serious matters, including voting to delay giving a release to its insurance company for damage reimbursements for Hurricane Katrina.

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Lisa Penton, the district’s director of finance, said the district still hasn’t resolved several issues with the company, including claims for the Bertie Rouse building, the Center for Alternative Education roof and for other repairs district wide. She told the board that the district was several hundred thousand dollars short of the reimbursements the district has coming to it for damage from the storm. The board police calls for replacement of damaged items with no depreciation figured into the claim.

For district-wide repairs, the district has spent more than $1.6 million of which the insurance company should reimburse the district for $1.4 million, Penton said. The company so far has agreed to reimburse only $895,821.45 to the district, but has actually reimbursed the district for only about $400,000. Also, $93,000 in Federal Emergency Management Agency funds for the Center for Alternative Education roof ands $95,000 of FEMA money for walkways and other items is being held up until the district settles with the insurance company, she said.

The board voted not to consider granting the insurance company a release until after those claims have been resolved.

Penton and Superintendent Dean Shaw and Assistant Superintendent Brent Harrell hope to schedule a meeting with Richard Booker, the claims adjuster for the company, before the next school board meeting on Aug. 12. Penton said he is unavailable for the next several days.

Shaw also said by telephone Wednesday morning that the company that installed the new lights at the football field will turn them on Thursday afternoon and leave them on until Monday morning. The lights need to burn for between 75 and 100 hours to “settle in,” Shaw said he was told by the company. He said they will be their brightest during the first 50 hours they are burning.

The school board also approved a list of personnel recommendations, including hiring former Tide basketball standout Joey Daley as a teacher and assistant basketball coach.

The board went into executive session to consider other personnel matters before adjourning.